Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States (Religion in America)

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9780195145328: Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States (Religion in America)

Between 1820 and 1860, American social reformers invited all people to identify God's image in the victims of war, slavery, and addiction. Identifying the Image of God traces the theme of identification--and its liberal Christian roots--through the literature of social reform, focusing on sentimental novels, temperance tales, and slave narratives, and invites contemporary activists to revive the "politics of identification."

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Dan McKanan is Assistant Professor of Theology at St. John's University and College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota.

Review:


Identifying the Image of God is extraordinarily persuasive in arguing that the imago dei was crucial to the sentimental structure of feeling."--American Literature


"McKanan excavates a radical liberal Christian theology beneath antebellum reform...presents a convincing case that such antebellum reformers as William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Clarke Wright, and Adin Ballou embraced a radical liberal Christian theology."--American Historical Review


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Between 1820 and 1860, American social reformers pioneered a sentimental politics of identification that invited people of all backgrounds to identify with the victims of war, slavery, and addiction. By portraying Native Americans, slaves, and drunkards as both physically vulnerable and socially related, these activists helped their neighbours see them as fully and equally human. Sentimental writers, like Lydia Maria Child, T. S. Arthur, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, proposed that the image of God was visible in the victims of violence. In Identifying the Image of God, Dan McKanan traces the theme of identification through the literature of social reform, focusing on sentimental novels, temperance tales, and fugitive slave narratives. All of these genres, he suggests, were rooted in a liberal Christian theology that rejected traditional notions of original sin and claimed, instead, that all people possess a divine image with the power to transform the world. Sentimental literature drew on the liberal idealism of the Declaration of Independence, yet many reformers took shared American values to countercultural extremes. Indeed, radical Christian liberals like William Lloyd Garrison believed that sentimental identification could be the basis for a society free from all violence and coercion. Throughout, McKanan integrates the perspectives of theology, history, and literary studies to provide a fuller picture of antebellum social reform. In an era when sentimentality is synonymous with saccharine excess and liberalism with government bureaucracy, he defends both traditions. Though he recognizes the liabilities and limitations of sentimental liberalism, he insists that contemporary activists have much to learn from the abolitionists, nonresistants, and temperance reformers of the antebellum period. Their example invites all of us to identify with the marginalized of our society, and to use nonviolent affection to build a new society. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195145328

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Between 1820 and 1860, American social reformers pioneered a sentimental politics of identification that invited people of all backgrounds to identify with the victims of war, slavery, and addiction. By portraying Native Americans, slaves, and drunkards as both physically vulnerable and socially related, these activists helped their neighbours see them as fully and equally human. Sentimental writers, like Lydia Maria Child, T. S. Arthur, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, proposed that the image of God was visible in the victims of violence. In Identifying the Image of God, Dan McKanan traces the theme of identification through the literature of social reform, focusing on sentimental novels, temperance tales, and fugitive slave narratives. All of these genres, he suggests, were rooted in a liberal Christian theology that rejected traditional notions of original sin and claimed, instead, that all people possess a divine image with the power to transform the world. Sentimental literature drew on the liberal idealism of the Declaration of Independence, yet many reformers took shared American values to countercultural extremes. Indeed, radical Christian liberals like William Lloyd Garrison believed that sentimental identification could be the basis for a society free from all violence and coercion. Throughout, McKanan integrates the perspectives of theology, history, and literary studies to provide a fuller picture of antebellum social reform. In an era when sentimentality is synonymous with saccharine excess and liberalism with government bureaucracy, he defends both traditions. Though he recognizes the liabilities and limitations of sentimental liberalism, he insists that contemporary activists have much to learn from the abolitionists, nonresistants, and temperance reformers of the antebellum period. Their example invites all of us to identify with the marginalized of our society, and to use nonviolent affection to build a new society. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195145328

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