Friday, September 4, 2009

Mary Thompson Writes

A short while ago, I posted a list of Books and Pamphlets on Religion and Philosophy in George Washington’s Library from Mount Vernon's website. The list was compiled by Mount Vernon researcher Mary V. Thompson and corresponds with a book she has written on GW's religion.

I am remiss to say that I haven't yet read her book, published in 2008, but I note that it is on my reading list. It is published by University of Virginia Press and endorsed by Frank E. Grizzard, one of the most fair and knowledgeable GW scholars, especially as regards GW's religion.

The thesis of Thompson's book rightly challenges the idea that GW was a "strict deist" (an idea too often posited by the secular historical academy) but also doesn't overly stress Washington's "orthodoxy" and rejects (or at least doesn't endorse) the idea that GW was a "born again Christian" who believed the Bible the inerrant, infallible word of God (i.e., an evangelical Christian). In this sense, Thompson's thesis is not unlike Michael (and Jana) Novak's.

Anyway, Ms. Thompson emailed me regarding how to access other files on Mount Vernon's website. There is much more than what I reproduced in my original post!

These various lists, she informs me, are works in progress and will be updated as new material is found.

Dear Jon,

Thank you for putting the link to the list of Washington’s books on religion and philosophy on your blog. I don’t know if you found the other materials relating to religion on our website, but, in case you didn’t… They can be accessed by getting on the Mount Vernon website (, clicking on “Learn” in the middle of the page; then clicking on “Collections” in the middle of the page; and finally clicking on “Staff Research” on the left-hand side of the page (then just scroll down the page).

You must be swamped with the start of a new semester!


Swamped I am indeed.

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