Cotton Mather (1663–1728): The leading New England theologian of his period, Mather was both a defender of Reformed orthodoxy and an intellectual innovator, who propagated the Pietist renewal of Protestantism and embraced ideas of the Early Enlightenment. Best known for his Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), he published more than 400 works in various fields including church history, natural theology, and medicine.
Amerika's First Bible Commentary
Editorial Committee for Cotton Mather's Biblia Americana
Reiner Smolinski, General Editor, Georgia State University
Jan Stievermann, Executive Editor, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Robert E. Brown, James Madison University
Mary Ava Chamberlain, Wright State University
Rick Kennedy, Point Loma Nazarene University
Harry Clark Maddux, Austin Peay State University
Kenneth P. Minkema, Yale University
Paul S. Peterson, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Scheduled to appear in ten volumes, this scholarly edition of Cotton Mather's Biblia Americana (1693–1728) makes available for the first time the oldest comprehensive commentary on the Bible composed in British North America.
Combining encyclopedic discussions of biblical scholarship with scientific speculations and advice for practical piety, Biblia represents one of the most significant untapped sources in American religious and intellectual history. Mather’s commentary not only reflects the growing influence of Enlightenment thought (Descartes, Newton) and the rise of the transatlantic evangelical awakening; it also marks the beginning of historical criticism of the Bible as text in New England.
Within the framework of Reformed orthodoxy, the famous Puritan clergyman constructively responded to the most radical biblical critics of the period (Grotius, Hobbes, Spinoza, Simon), who had challenged the textual integrity and authority of the scriptures. Biblia engages a vast array of source-texts, from the Church Fathers, medieval and Reformation theologians, Rabbinic scholarship, ancient history and philosophy, to the cutting-edge philological and philosophical studies of the period.
Moreover, Mather frequently includes discourses on specifically American topics such as Native American religions, culture, and medicines, captivity narratives, New World flora and fauna, African slavery, or evangelical activities. Edited by leading experts in the field, each volume contains a historical-contextual introduction, explanatory annotations, translations of the many Latin, Greek, and Hebrew quotations, as well as several indexes.
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