Greetings. As foretold, my interactive scholarly work, America’s Public Bible: A Commentary, is being published today by Stanford University Press.

What, you ask, is an interactive scholarly work? I would argue that it is a book which combines prose with the affordances of new media. My children would respond: “Mommy has written a book. You only just made a website.”1 I leave the matter for you to adjudicate. Click through the cover image to decide for yourself.

The cover of America's Public Bible.

The project allows you to find a few examples—well, a couple million examples—of how Americans used the Bible in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I’ll let the introduction do the work of serious scholarship, but for now I will just point out that there are all kinds of crazy and fun things to be discovered using the site. Here are a couple.

An image of a historical newspaper An image of a historical newspaper An image of a historical newspaper An image of a historical newspaper

I doubt that I have looked at even half of a percent of the examples of biblical quotations available on the site. I hope you will find some that interest you. If you do, please send them my way.

People who come to the project by other means will have to content themselves with receiving a free, open-access publication. But you, gentle subscriber, deserve special treatment. If you would like an attractive, signed copy of a postcard—which is the closest thing I can offer you to a signed copy of the book without scribbling on your laptop with a Sharpie—please reply to this email with your address and I’ll put it in the mail. (I will of course not keep your address for any other purpose.) And if you want ten for your book club, Sunday school class, or dart board, that can probably be arranged too.

The project was a lot of fun to make, and I learned a lot while working on it. Now I hope that you have fun exploring the site, and maybe that you learn a little history along the way.

  1. For the record, I have in fact written as traditional a book book as they come, but for some reason that does not count for anything in my household either. At least they are proud of their mother. ↩︎