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The Bible in American Life$
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Philip Goff, Arthur Farnsley, and Peter Thuesen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190468910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190468910.001.0001

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The Continuing Distinctive Role of the Bible in American Lives

The Continuing Distinctive Role of the Bible in American Lives

A Comparative Analysis

(p.203) 17 The Continuing Distinctive Role of the Bible in American Lives
The Bible in American Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

Through the use of national social surveys, this chapter examines the extent to which the Bible plays a distinctive role in American religious life. Three different comparisons drive the analysis: across time, across cultural settings, and across religious traditions. In so doing, three topics are addressed. First, this study examines the extent to which there is any evidence of a decline in attributions related to the authority of the Bible or in terms of the level of Bible reading found among the American people over the past several decades. Second, it analyzes the extent to which Canadians and Americans who exhibit similar religious characteristics differ in terms of their views of biblical authority and in terms of their practices of Bible reading. And, finally, the chapter examines the extent to which Americans of different religious traditions use the Bible for different purposes.

Keywords:   biblical authority levels, Bible reading levels, Bible reading America, Bible reading Canada, Bible reading purpose

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