This Church History course will be taught by Dr. Miles Smith, and will run from July 5 through August 27th. The syllabus is available here.
Between the American Revolution and the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the history of Christianity (and particularly Protestantism) in the United States has been overwhelmingly wedded to the broader narrative of the United States’ political and social democratization. Protestant identity in the United States, and Christianity more broadly, has been seen largely through the lens of Jeffersonian republican presumptions. This class will seek to understand the intellectual and political presumptions that led to and sustained the religious settlement in the American republic.
A secondary purpose of this class is to broaden the understanding of Protestantism in the US and explore the tradition without regard to its popularity or relationship to the American regime’s national narrative. Figures like John Williamson Nevin, Charles Pettit McIlvaine, Alexander McLeod, and others all figured prominently in their own time and engaged in important debates over the nature of the relationship between church, state, and society that showed the extensiveness and diversity of the Protestant tradition in North America. This class will engage the breadth of North American Protestantism to better inform debates over religion and society in our own moment.
Dr. Miles Smith (PhD Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Hillsdale College. His research is on the U.S. South and the Atlantic world. He generally writes on intellectual history—ideas, religion, slavery and freedom, etc.—but occasionally dabbles in political history, too. He is also interested in Europe and in Latin America. He edits nineteenth century works of historical theology and is revising a religious biography of Andrew Jackson. He has written for popular outlets like Mere Orthodoxy, The Gospel Coalition, Public Discourse, The Federalist, The University Bookman, and The American Conservative. He also co-hosts The Paleo Protestant Pudcast.