Religion 304 W: History of Christianity in America
Samford University, Department of Religion, Fall 2003
Mon., Wed., Fri. 10:30 to 11:35am, 320 Chapman Hall
course website: http://faculty.samford.edu/~drbains/relg304
David R. Bains, Assistant Professor
Office: 325 Chapman Hall, phone: 726-2879, email:
This course surveys the history of Christianity in the United States and the colonies that preceded it. Special attention will be given to the relationship between Christianity and American culture, the changing shape of American denominations, and the role of race and gender in American religion.
The student will be able to:
Frey, Sylvia R., and Betty Wood. Come Shouting to Zion: African American Protestantism in the American South and British Caribbean to 1830. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
McGreevy, John T. Catholicism and American Freedom: A History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.
Williams, Peter W. America's Religions: From Their Origins to the Twenty-first Century Bloomington: University of Illinois Press, 2001.
Winston, Diane. Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Two mid-term examinations 20% each for a total of 40%. Study guides will be provided at least a week prior to each exam. Sample study guides from previous semesters may be available on the course web page. Exams will include objective questions, detailed term identifications, and essays.
Final examination 25% Same format as the mid-terms.
Research paper 15% On a topic of your choosing related to the course. See below for more detail.
Essays, class discussion, class attendance. 35% While there will be many lectures, this course revolves around the reading and discussion of primary and secondary sources. There will be approximately 5 assigned essays of 3 to 5 pages that will ask you to offer your own analysis of sources read and discussed in class. Some of these may require some additional reading and research. Each of these essays will be worth at least 5% of your final grade. Note: The option exists to write an original research paper in lieu of 2-3 of the assigned essays. See the instructor to discuss this possibility. Students choosing this option will still be responsible for the assigned reading in discussions and on tests.
In order to participate in discussion, you must do the assigned reading. If you are not prepared for discussion, your grade will suffer. I don't expect you to understand everything you read; that is, after all, one of the reasons to discuss it. You should come to every class, however, with questions about what you didn't understand and about the implications of what you did understand. You should always bring the assigned reading to class.
Other short assignments and quizzes may be given.
Students are expected to observe high standards of intellectual integrity. See the relevant section of the Student Handbook and the University Catalog. Study groups are encouraged, but all work submitted in this class must be your own. Suspected lapses in academic integrity will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the University's values policy.
For information on the format of papers and citations see my handout "Guidelines for Essays in Religion."
Attendance and Grading / Department of Religion:
Roll will be taken each day. In a MWF class a student may miss six classes without penalty. After the seventh absence your final grade will be reduced one letter grade. After the ninth absence the student will receive an FA for the course. Three tardies count as one absence. If you come in after your name is called, you will need to notify your professor at the end of the class period, or else the tardy will become an absence. The Department of Religion grading scale is:
A= 100%-95%, A- = 94%-92%
B+ = 91%-88%, B = 87% - 85%, B- = 84%-82%
C+ = 81% - 78%, C = 77%-74%, C- = 73% - 70%
D+ = 69% - 66%, D = 65% - 63%, D- = 62% -60%
F = below 59%
Papers that are turned in after the set due date will be penalized one full letter grade for each week that they are late.
Samford University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request by contacting Disability Support Services located in Counseling Services on the lower level
of Pittman Hall, or call 726-4078. A faculty member will grant reasonable accommodations only upon written notification from Disability Support Services.
Course Outline (Subject to Revision):
This outline lists the order of subjects and readings in the class, but generally not the dates. These will be announced as we go. It is your responsibility, however, to make sure that you stay ahead. Study questions or introductory lectures will be provided for many of the primary sources.
Readings not marked "Williams," "Frey and Wood," "McGreevy," or "Winston" will be found in the packet.
[Bracketed readings are strongly recommended, but not strictly required.]
Reading: Williams, 1-10
Reading for August 27: Williams [pp. 55-64], 64-102
Shepard, Thomas. Thomas Shepard Confessions. ed. George Selement and Bruce C. Woolley. (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1981): 60-80.
Trent, Robert F. "'The Deuil Came Upon me Like a Lyon': A 1697 Cambridge Deathbed Narrative." Connecticut Historical Society 48 (1983): 114-119.
Reading: Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchison before the Court at Newtown reprinted in The Antinomian Controversy, 1636-1638, ed. David D. Hall, (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990), 333-348.
Reading: "Cambridge Platform" (1648) reprinted in American Christianity: An Historical Interpretation with Representative Documents, ed. H. Shelton Smith, Robert T. Handy, and Lefferts A. Loetscher, vol. 1 (New York: Scribner's, 1963): 128-138
Roger Williams to John Endicott (1651) A Documentary History of Religion in America, ed. Edwin S. Gaustad vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993): 114-117
John Winthrop, "A Model of Christian Charity," reprinted in American Christianity 1:97-102
Puritan Essay: The Puritans placed a premium on experiential knowledge, biblical truth, a pure church, and a Christian commonwealth. One historian has described them as "ambidextrous" in their ability to balance these seemingly conflicting claims. Based on the documents you have read, explain how you see the Puritans balancing, or failing to balance, their several concerns.
Reading: Williams, pp. 119-135, 153-163
Reading: Frey and Wood,. intro and chapter 1, Williams, 23-28,
Reading: Frey and Wood, chapter 2
Reading: Frey and Wood, chapter 3
Reading: Williams, 135-147, 153-158
Reading: Jonathan Edwards, "A Divine and Supernatural Light" (1734)
Jonathan Edwards, "A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God" (selections)
Reading: Harry Stout, "Religion, Communications, and the Idealological Origins of the American Revolution," William and Mary Quaterly 34 (1977): 591-4
and Jon Butler, "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretive Fiction," Journal of American History 69 (Sept. 1982): 305-325, both reprinted in Jon Butler and Harry S. Stout, eds., Religion in American History: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 88-128.
Great Awakening Essay: Questions at the end of first paragraph on page 88.
MID TERM 1: September 29
Reading: Williams, 148-153, 175-184
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, selection from Query XIV and all of Queries XVII to XIX ed. William Peden (New York: Norton, 1954), 137-149, 157-165.
Reading: James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance, in Documentary History of Religion in America, 1:262-267.
Issac Backus on Religious Liberty in Documentary History of Religion in America, 1:267-270.
Reading: William Ellery Channing. "Baltimore Sermon," in American Christianity 1:493-502.
Reading: Thomas Campbell. "Declaration and Address," in American Christianity 1:578-586.
Charles Hodge, Introduction to Systematic Theology, reprinted in Mark A. Noll, The Princeton Theology, 1812-1921: Scripture, Science, and Theological Method from Archibald Alexander to Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1983), 117-131.
Enlightenment Essay: TBA
Reading: Williams, pp. 181-190. 226-235
Reading: Nathaniel William Taylor, Advice to Clergy reprinted in Issues in American Protestantism: A Documentary History from the Puritans to the Present, ed. Robert L. Ferm (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1969), 138-148.
Reading: Frey and Wood, chapters 4-7 (pp. 118-214)
Reading: Williams, 190-208, [208-215]
Reading: McGreevy, 7-42
Reading: Emerson, "Divinity School Address" (1838) reprinted in Sources of Christian Thought in America ed. by Mark G. Toulouse and James O. Duke (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997), 189-200.
Reading: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, (1852; reprinted New York: Signet, 1981), chapter 13 & 16.
Reading: George D. Armstrong, The Christian Doctrine of Slavery (New York: Charles Scribner, 1857), 131-148.
Albert Barnes, The Church and Slavery (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1857), 33-40.
Slavery Essay: TBA
Reading: Williams, pp. 235-243
Readings: Josiah Strong, Our Country (New York: American Home Missionary Society, 1885), Chapters 4,5, and 13, (pp.30-59. 159-180.)
Mid Term 2: November 1
Readings: McGreevy, 127-165
Russell H. Conwell, "Acres of Diamonds" in Ferm, 235-242
Walter Rauschenbusch "The Social Aims of Jesus" in Ferm, 242-252
Winston, Red Hot and Righteous
Readings: Henry Ward Beecher, "The Study of Human Nature," reprinted in American Protestant Thought in the Liberal Era, ed. William R. Hutchison (1968; reprinted Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1985). 37-45;
Hodge and Warfield both in American Christianity 2: 324-332
Readings: Shailer Matthews, "The Affirmations of Faith," in American Protestant Thought, 88-95
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism selection in American Christianity 2:345-349,
Reinhold Niebuhr, "As Deceivers, Yet True," in Beyond Tragedy, (New York: Scribner's, 1937), 1-24.
Essay: Modern Theology
Note: There may be additional primary source documents assigned for the sections below.
Readings: McGreevy, 166-217
Readings: Williams, 343-375
Readings: Williams, 277-282
Readings: Williams, 322-327. 440-448
Readings: Williams, 375-389; McGreevy, 216-296
Final Exam--Monday, December 8, 10:30am [The final exam will be given at the time specified in the Class Schedule for this term. Sometimes I make typos. Double-check me to make sure the date I've given here is right before making any travel plans.]