This book is most useful as a reference for students in high school or college who may not know the breadth of the Bible’s influence on American political life or who need introductory information on religious actors (Pat Robertson, David Koresh, Billy Sunday, Jehovah’s Witness, Salvation Army ), social issues (Temperance Movement, Creationism, Snake Handling), or how the Bible has been used by specific Presidents (Clinton, Madison, Trump, Wilson) or any of the other number of entries.
The Bible in American Law and Politics: A Reference Guide, by John R. Vile, is a welcomed resource for surveying and exploring the Bible’s contributions to American political and legal cultures. . . Professor Vile is both academically rigorous in his assessment of the subject matter and respectful of the faith claims he examines. . . . The Bible in American Law and Politics makes a compelling case that the Bible has been a wellspring of principles, themes, values, symbols, and narratives that have informed—for good and ill—diverse aspects of American politics and law. It offers insights into the people, ideas, and events, shaped by a biblical culture, that have influenced the nation’s civic life. It also serves as a reminder and a warning that the widespread biblical illiteracy of our own age will inevitably distort the conception Americans have of themselves as a people, their history, and their political endeavors.
The Bible in American Law and Politics by John R. Vile provides relatively short and immensely useful entries surveying and distilling scholarship on a tremendous array of subjects. Students of American history, biblical interpretation, and political rhetoric, as well as all those seeking a fuller appreciation of the immeasurable impact the Bible has had, and continues to have, on the American story, stand to gain much from Vile’s exhaustive and engaging work.