Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gordon Wood v. Michael Novak

In the past few posts, we seem to have debated ad nauseam the historical work of traditional scholars with that of the emerging Christian "reformers" of recent years. Though I tend to side with the traditional scholarship of professional historians, I do believe that the contributions of Christian Nationalists have not only challenged mainstream historiography, but have helped to further the public's interest.

With this in mind, I have decided to post the following audio clip. I want to thank my friend, Steve for sending this to me. I realize that some of you have already listened to this, so I hope you will see this as a refresher. Hopefully this will prompt yet another debate on this topic.

The audio clip is a discussion between Michael Novak and Gordon Wood. Novak, author of the book Washington's God, takes a Christian fundamentalist view of the faith of America's first Commander-in-Chief, while Wood, a highly acclaimed historian and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, counters with a more secularist view. In the end, it appears as though Novak cowers to Wood's insight and perspective, which is understandable since Wood is considered to be one of the finest historians of early America.

Here is the audio of this discussion. Click on Windows Media to access it once you get to the site.


Pinky said...

Pretty good discussion to my way of thinking.

Seems it ends up making little difference what George Washington's personal beliefs were as his public persona was purely tolerant of all religions including Islam and Judaism--according to the discussion anyway.

One thing that sticks in my mind from the discussion is Washington's reference to "our blessed religion". Is it not true that the Founders believed that the theory of America itself was "a blessed religion"? So, I wonder if Washington is taking about America.

David Mabry said...

Many of the founding generation referred to democracy (in our republican sense) as the founding faith.