By Paul Gutjahr
"An American Bible is an incredibly compelling piece of cultural historical past that succeeds in making wealthy instead of schematic experience of the most important dramas that lay at the back of the creation of over 1,700 assorted American variations of the Bible within the century after the yank Revolution. Gutjahr's booklet is principally strong in demonstrating how nineteenth-century efforts to purge the Bible of textual and translational impurities looking for an 'authentic' textual content led sarcastically to the emergence of completely new gospels just like the Book of Mormon and the large fictionalized literature facing the lifetime of Christ."
During the 1st three-quarters of the 19th century, American publishing skilled extraordinary, exponential progress. An rising industry economic system, common spiritual revival, academic reforms, and suggestions in print know-how labored jointly to create a tradition more and more shaped and framed through the facility of print. on the middle of this new tradition used to be the Bible, the ebook that has been known as "the top vendor" in American publishing historical past. but you will need to discover that the Bible in the United States used to be no longer an easy, uniform entity. First published within the usa in the course of the American Revolution, the Bible underwent many revisions, translations, and adjustments in layout as diverse editors and publishers appropriated it to fulfill a variety of altering ideological and fiscal demands.
This booklet examines what number various constituencies (both secular and non secular) fought to maintain the Bible the preeminent textual content within the usa because the country's print market skilled explosive development. the writer indicates how those heated battles had profound results for lots of American cultural practices and different types of published fabric. by means of exploring how publishers, monks, politicians, educators, and lay individuals met the chance that new revealed fabric posed to the dominance of the Bible via altering either its shape and its contents, the writer unearths the explanations and outcomes of mutating God's supposedly immutable notice.
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Extra info for An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880
131 Even with the longer span of time in the fourth General Supply, the Society simply could not keep up with America's evergrowing, evermoving, everdiversifying population. 132 While the general culture was touched to differing degrees by the Society's efforts, these same efforts touched every segment of American bible publishing. They choose to keep it as far from their bosoms as they conveniently can. He is clearly more interested in getting bibles into circulation than he is in probing the influential role of bible societies in the commercial market.
As other forms of printed material became more ac Page 19 cessible, the Bible's clear role as the centerpiece of American print culture came into question. For the Society, the solution to print competition was simple: Make the Bible the most accessible written text in the United States, and you would make it the most important. 59 The General Supply of 18291831 stands as the most ambitious, and perhaps most successful, attempt at placing the Bible in a preeminent position in the United States print culture through the sheer number of volumes produced and made available.
He often dined with various members of the Congress at the London Coffee House near his shop, and he used these connections to become the Congress's official printer, publishing the Congressional Journal. In 1777, he published the first English New Page 21 63 Testament printed in the colonies. From the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania he secured a loan, and from the Continental Congress he secured a written endorsement that he placed as a preface to his bible edition. 69 As it became clear that Aitken was going to lose a fortune on his bible FIGURE 1.
An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880 by Paul Gutjahr