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Our Southern Zion, Our Southern Zion, 0817307575, 0-8173-0757-5, 978-0-8173-0757-8, 9780817307578, , , Our Southern Zion, 0817357882, 0-8173-5788-2, 978-0-8173-5788-7, 9780817357887, , , Our Southern Zion, 0817387889, 0-8173-8788-9, 978-0-8173-8788-4, 9780817387884,

Our Southern Zion
A History of Calvinism in the South Carolina Low Country, 1690-1990
by Erskine Clarke

Trade Cloth
1996. 448 pp.
Price:  $59.95 s
E Book
2012. 444 pp.
Price:  $39.95 d
Quality Paper
2014. 444 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s

The South Carolina low country has long been regarded--not only in popular imagination and paperback novels but also by respected scholars--as a region dominated by what earlier historians called "a cavalier spirit" and by what later historians have simply described as "a wholehearted devotion to amusement and the neglect of religion and intellectual pursuits." Such images of the low country have been powerful interpreters of the region because they have had some foundation in social and cultural realities. It is a thesis of this study, however, that there has been a strong Calvinist community in the Carolina low country since its establishment as a British colony and that this community (including in its membership both whites and after the 1740s significant numbers of African Americans) contradicts many of the images of the "received version" of the region. Rather than a devotion to amusement and a neglect of religion and intellectual interests, this community has been marked throughout most of its history by its disciplined religious life, its intellectual pursuits, and its work ethic.

The complex character of this Calvinist community guides Clarke to an exploration of the ways a particular religious tradition and a distinct social context have interacted over a 300-year period, including the unique story of the oldest and largest African American Calvinist community in America.



Erskine Clarke is a Professor of American Religious History at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

"Writing from an intimate and detailed familiarity with his subject, Erskine Clarke has produced a monograph of singular significance. Though his story may at first glance appear to be a narrow one, his sharply revisionist account helps to illumine the far larger story of religion in America." —Edwin S. Gaustad, University of California-Riverside

"An exciting addition to American religious history. . . . Clarke appreciates that there was a vibrant human experience antedating Presbyterian denominationalism: the transplanted European traditions brought to America by colonial settlers and which mediated symbolically between individuals and the culture within which they lived." —Robert McCluer Calhoon, University of North Carolina-Greensboro

"This book is obviously a labor of love. Erskine Clarke, who teaches American religious history at Columbia Theological Seminary, has researched extensively, if not exhaustively, the history of the Reformed churches of the South Carolina low country....Clarke’s argument has broad implications for the understanding of southern culture and the role of religion in Southern history....Clarke’s book will take an important place in the literature on Southern religion and culture. In the literature on regional religious history and denominational history, this work will be a landmark and a model for others to follow." --John M. Mulder, Louisville (KY) Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Theology Today

1996 Makemie Award, sponsored by Presbyterian Historical Society

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