Benjamin Franklin by Thomas S. Kidd
The Religious Life of a Founding Father

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Kidd opens and closes with the image of Franklin calling upon the 1787 Constitutional Convention to open in prayer, asking for God’s direction. Unusual for a deist, to say the least. A highly accessible study of an enigmatic yet influential faith life.
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Synopsis

A major new biography, illuminating the great mystery of Benjamin Franklin’s faith

Renowned as a printer, scientist, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin also published more works on religious topics than any other eighteenth-century American layperson. Born to Boston Puritans, by his teenage years Franklin had abandoned the exclusive Christian faith of his family and embraced deism. But Franklin, as a man of faith, was far more complex than the “thorough deist” who emerges in his autobiography. As Thomas Kidd reveals, deist writers influenced Franklin’s beliefs, to be sure, but devout Christians in his life—including George Whitefield, the era’s greatest evangelical preacher; his parents; and his beloved sister Jane—kept him tethered to the Calvinist creed of his Puritan upbringing. Based on rigorous research into Franklin’s voluminous correspondence, essays, and almanacs, this fresh assessment of a well-known figure unpacks the contradictions and conundrums faith presented in Franklin’s life.
 

About Thomas S. Kidd

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Thomas S. Kidd is associate professor of history at Baylor University. The author of several books on American religious history, he lives in Woodway, Texas.
 
Published May 23, 2017 by Yale University Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, War. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 07 2017

Kidd opens and closes with the image of Franklin calling upon the 1787 Constitutional Convention to open in prayer, asking for God’s direction. Unusual for a deist, to say the least. A highly accessible study of an enigmatic yet influential faith life.

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