Thomas S. KiddJul 27, 2022
The Religious Life of a Founding Father
Yale University Press 2017
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 in Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2018), deist writers influenced Franklin’s beliefs, to be sure, but devout Christians in his life kept him tethered to the Calvinist creed of his Puritan upbringing.
Thomas Kidd is Research Professor of Church History at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a Senior Research Scholar at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.
Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.