Southern Cross : The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Paperback)

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Product Overview

Examines the evolution of the conservative religious tradition of the South ''s Bible Belt. Heyrman shows that preachers from the Anglican Church achieved dominance in the South by assimilating the values already held there.


Publisher Univ of North Carolina Pr
Mfg Part# 9780807847169
SKU 30332561
Format Paperback
ISBN10 080784716X
Release Date 4/10/2007
Dimensions (in Inches) 9.5H x 6.5L x 1T
"Though this book will be of principal interest to students of American religion and/or the American South, it has considerable pertinence to a lay readership, especially in Washington, where the so-called religious right is widely misunderstood and at times unfairly vilified. Christine Leigh Heyrman...has done a great deal of original research into the origins of the Southern evangelical movement, and has concluded that, like much else in American life, what it is today bears only scant resemblance to what it started out to be....[T]he most important lesson Heyrman teaches is that 'evangelicalism has never been a static, monolithic structure of belief and that is adherents have never been an undifferentiated mass.' ...The exigencies of politics and the oversimplifications of journalism have combined to portray the religious rights as considerably less complex than in fact it is, or ever was."
"The religious history of the American South is fascinating scholarly terrain. Anyone who doubts this should read Christine Leigh Heryman's 'Southern Cross,' an extraordinarily rich exploration of the first hundred years of evangelical faith in the South. Her book transports us back to what the author accurately describes as 'a world marooned from living memory'....To recover her story, Ms. Heryman plowed through sources that would deter all but the most intrepid of historians: the manuscript diaries and journals kept by Baptist and Methodist clergy as they went about their daily tasks in the 18th- and 19th-century South....Ms. Heryman has given us a great deal to think about in this wonderfully told and beautifully written story."
From the Publisher
Annotation That the South is popularly equated with "the Bible Belt" is a cliche of contemporary culture. And according to historian Christine Leigh Heyrman, it is also something of a misnomer--one she is determined to correct in "Southern Cross", her exhaustively researched history of the origins of Southern evangelicalism. In it she argues persuasively that now, as then, the truth is more complicated than popular wisdom allows.
Editors Note In Southern Cross Christine Leigh Heyrman reveals the surprising paradox at the heart of America's "Bible Belt": how such currently conservative religions groups as the Southern Baptists and Methodists evolved out of an evangelical Protestantism that began with totally different social and political attitudes. Heyrman argues that evangelicalism did not flow rapidly into the religious vacuum created by the American Revolution, because southern whites of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were affronted by many aspects of early evangelical teaching and practice, including opposition to slaveholding, to class privilege, and to traditional ideals of masculinity; a lack of respect for generational hierarchy; the encouragement of women's public involvement in church affairs; and an insistence on spiritual intimacy with blacks. They felt threatened as well by the unsparing evangelical emphasis on sin, hell's torments, and Satan's wiles - and by the often wrenching experiences that accompanied conversion. What happened? What changed? How did the very religious groups that at first offended most white southerners eventually come to claim the soul of the South? Heyrman shows how, over the span of a century, the evangelicals came to be dominant in the region by deliberately changing their own "traditional values" and assimilating the conventional southern understandings of family relationships, masculine prerogatives, classic patriotism, and martial honor. In so doing, religious groups earlier associated with nonviolence and antislavery activity came to the defense of slavery and secession and the holy cause of upholding both by force of arms - and adopted the values that we now associate with the "Bible Belt".
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0352
Publisher University of North Carolina Press
$50.68 + $2.98 shipping
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