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Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt

Heyrman, Christine Leigh

Published by Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A., 1997
ISBN 10: 0679446389 / ISBN 13: 9780679446385
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details

Title: Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible ...

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition


336pp. The Begining of the Bible Belt. In Southern Cross Christine Leigh Heyrman reveals the surprising paradox at the heart of America's" Bible Belt": how such currently conservative religious groups as the Southern Baptists and Methodists evolved out of an evangelical Protestantism that began with totally different social and political attitudes. 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?. Bookseller Inventory # 004471

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Synopsis: In an astonishing history, a work of strikingly original research and interpretation, Heyrman shows how the evangelical Protestants of the late-18th century affronted the Southern Baptist majority of the day, not only by their opposition to slaveholding, war, and class privilege, but also by their espousal of the rights of the poor and their encouragement of women's public involvement in the church.

Review: It seems almost a given in the South these days that Christian conservatism is the rule rather than the exception. This part of the United States is, after all, the "buckle" of the Bible Belt. In her surprising history, Southern Cross, Professor Christine Leigh Heyrman shows that Evangelical Christianity was not always as popular in the South as it is today. In fact, the whole face of Evangelicalism has changed radically since its introduction in the 18th century. For example, early teaching and practice resoundingly opposed slavery, class privilege, and the traditional roles of men and women. Evangelicals encouraged women's involvement in church affairs and--even worse--spiritual intimacy with other races. These unpopular political and social stands combined with their unbending view of hellfire and damnation placed Evangelicals on the margins of Southern religious practice until they themselves were "converted" to a different set of traditional values.

Heyrman's book traces the evolution of Southern Evangelism from fringe movement to possessor of the Southern soul. In the span of a century, Evangelicalism began adopting Southern values, and a sect that had earlier preached against slavery and violence began defending both slaveholding and succession from the Union and the use of force in these ends, if necessary. The story of Christianity in the South is a fascinating one, and Southern Cross tells it well.

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