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The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus$
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David Burns

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199929504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199929504.001.0001

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The Fireman of Terre Haute

The Fireman of Terre Haute

(p.162) Chapter 5 The Fireman of Terre Haute
The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus

David Burns

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the career and thought of Eugene Debs, the most powerful and popular disciple of the radical historical Jesus during the Progressive Era. Debs’s life also provides an example of how a focus on the secular-minded religious tradition that produced the radical historical Jesus alters the thrust of the history of religion in America. Numerous scholars have presented Debs as part of the evangelical Protestant tradition, which was a key component of republican thought in the United States. However, as an examination of the course of his religious development reveals, many of the authors, activists, and philosophers who had the greatest influence on Debs’s views were operating outside the American evangelical tradition and inspired him to move well beyond the boundaries of the American political tradition.

Keywords:   Eugene Debs, religion, evangelical, Protestant, republican, United States, boundaries, political tradition

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