Winner of the Christianity Today Book of the Year Award (1995)
“The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” So begins this award-winning intellectual history and critique of the evangelical movement by one of evangelicalism’s most respected historians.
Unsparing in his indictment, Mark Noll asks why the largest single group of religious Americans—who enjoy increasing wealth, status, and political influence—have contributed so little to rigorous intellectual scholarship. While nourishing believers in the simple truths of the gospel, why have so many evangelicals failed to sustain a serious intellectual life and abandoned the universities, the arts, and other realms of “high” culture?
Over twenty-five years since its original publication, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind has turned out to be prescient and perennially relevant. In a new preface, Noll lays out his ongoing personal frustrations with this situation, and in a new afterword he assesses the state of the scandal—showing how white evangelicals’ embrace of Trumpism, their deepening distrust of science, and their frequent forays into conspiratorial thinking have coexisted with surprisingly robust scholarship from many with strong evangelical connections.
Table of Contents
New Preface (2022) Part One: The Scandal 1. The Contemporary Scandal 2. Why the Scandal Matters Part Two: How the Scandal Has Come to Pass 3. The Evangelical Mind Takes Shape—Revival, Revolution, and a Cultural Synthesis 4. The Evangelical Enlightenment 5. The Intellectual Disaster of Fundamentalism Part Three: What the Scandal Has Meant 6. Political Reflection 7. Thinking about Science Part Four: Hope? 8. Is an Evangelical Intellectual Renaissance Underway? 9. Can the Scandal Be Scandalized? New Afterword (2022)
Mark A. Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, and Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity.
“Our Book of the Year, Noll’s Scandal of the Evangelical Mind reminds us that ‘modern evangelicals are the spiritual descendants of leaders and movements distinguished by probing, creative, fruitful attention to the mind’ and challenges us to reclaim that heritage.” — Christianity Today
“Required reading for those seeking to understand the often peculiar relationship between Evangelical religion and secular culture, this is a brilliant study by—yes—a first-rate Evangelical mind.” — Publishers Weekly
“That anti-intellectualism is not inherent in evangelicalism Noll demonstrates by presenting evangelical intellectual history, primarily in the U.S., with scholarly thoroughness and journalistic accessibility. . . . Noll well exemplifies what he prays evangelicals generally will learn to value again: thinking like a Christian.” — Booklist
“An evangelical intellectual finds a kind of heresy in evangelicalism’s neglect of the mind.” — Peter Steinfels in The New York Times
“Those who would like to become acquainted with their evangelical neighbors will find no better book to serve as a guide than The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll, who is also the best personal guide to the subject that I know.” — Martin E. Marty in Commonweal
“This is a book that every American historian ought to read precisely because it makes one think hard about a subject and a discipline in a way that few books do.” — Jon Butler in Evangelical Studies Bulletin
“Mark Noll has written a major indictment of American evangelicalism. Reading this book, one wonders if the evangelical movement has pandered so much to American culture, tried so hard to be popular, and perpetuated such a do-it-yourself, feel-good faith that it has lost not only its mind but its soul as well. Clergy, seminary faculty, and laypeople need to take the message of this book to heart.” — Robert Wuthnow
“Noll’s cri de coeur is powerful and superb. Those of us who are evangelicals should finish it on our knees. The character of evangelicalism is at stake in our response.” — Os Guinness
“In this landmark evangelical ‘tract for the times’ Noll combines passion and his own impressive scholarship, arguing that if Christians are to serve God with their minds, they must do their homework.” — George M. Marsden
“This is a must read book. Its being named the 1995 Christianity Today Book of the Year is not undeserved. It sets the agenda for a very interesting discussion.” — Southwestern Journal of Theology
“Named ‘Book of the Year’ by Christianity Today, this volume is a vigorous sign of the renewal of evangelical thinking for which its author calls. This book should be read by persons interested in enlightenment in America, the legacy of fundamentalism, and the relationship of evangelical Christianity to science and politics. This book should be required reading for anyone who still does not know the difference between a fundamentalist and an evangelical.” — Dialog
“This book must be rated as one of the top ten books of the year, at least for our readers.” — Equip for Ministry
“Agenda-setting work. . . A ‘must-read’ for any thinking evangelical.” — The Church of England Newspaper
“A most impressive book, combining passionate engagement with careful and rational analysis.” — Theology (UK)
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