In Secularism In Antebellum America, John Modern extensively and directly engages with what he calls Mark Noll's “magisterial treatment of evangelicalism” in America's God. In light of this, I have been surprised at what a challenge it has been to bring these books into conversation with one another on the subject of evangelicals and evangelicalism. The central reason for the difficulty, I think, is that Modern's treatment of antebellum evangelical print culture—his chapter entitled “Evangelical Secularism and the Measure of Leviathan”—is not actually about evangelicals. It is about secularism. And that, in a nutshell, is Modern's point. Throughout his book, he works hard to bring what he sees as the background into the foreground, rendering the emergent atmosphere of secularism as the protagonist in his story of evangelical media practices.
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