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

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Read Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father Online Free - 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.

Title : Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0300217498
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 pages


KC rated it ★★★★☆

September 30, 2017

On the recommendation from my 25 year old son, I delve into the life and religion of founding father, Benjamin Franklin. I was pleasantly surprised by Franklin's progressive thinking; he was autodidactic, attempted vegetarianism, and he faced a constant struggle with organized religion upsetting...

George P. rated it ★★★★★

July 20, 2017

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention found itself bogged down over the issue of representation. Small states wanted equal representation in the national legislature. Large states wanted proportional representation. The dispute seemed irresolvable, and if it could not be resolved, the young Amer...

Noah rated it ★★★★★

August 09, 2017

Lots of fun. Kidd seems to have found the happy (and scholarly) medium between the those who want to claim Franklin as an evangelical and those who want to claim him as a New-Atheist-before-it-was-cool.

Sean rated it ★★★★★

June 15, 2017

This book is thoroughly reasearched and skilfully written. The author is careful to let the writings of Franklin speak for themselves. He does insert some comment for clarity or to remind the reader of earlier ideas, but he doesn't insert himself into the narrative. I look forward to reading more...

Drew rated it ★★★★★

February 26, 2018

Kidd succeeds in making a clear thesis from the beginning and then fairly demonstrating that thesis through Franklin's own words throughout the various stages of his life. He does not render an easy verdict on Franklin's religious life, but instead shows the complexity of the question. I also enj...

Tom rated it ★★★★★

August 14, 2017

Here we have another masterful work from Thomas Kidd. While Franklin was grounded in New England Puritanism and his friendship with evangelist George Whitefield, in the end Franklin believed virtue and doing good where what pleased God, a rejection of his Calvinist roots. In the end, Kidd make hi...

Lee rated it ★★★★★

October 26, 2017

In this book it appears Kidd is trying to reconcile Franklin's religious beliefs which like most of Franklin (and his personality) are unreconciable. He quotes Alfred Owen Aldridge as saying, "Frankling completely disbelieved Christianity; yet he was attracted by it as a system of worship." Kidd...

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