The First American Evangelical

The First American Evangelical

A Short Life of Cotton Mather

Book - 2015
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An accurate, sympathetic account of influential colonial Christian leader Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was America's most famous pastor and scholar at the beginning of the eighteenth century. People today generally associate him with the infamous Salem witch trials, but in this new biography Rick Kennedy tells a bigger story: Mather, he says, was the very first American evangelical.

A fresh retelling of Cotton Mather's life, this biography corrects misconceptions and focuses on how he sought to promote, socially and intellectually, a biblical lifestyle. As older Puritan hopes in New England were giving way to a broader and shallower Protestantism, Mather led a populist, Bible-oriented movement that embraced the new century — the beginning of a dynamic evangelical tradition that eventually became a major force in American culture.

Incorporating the latest scholarly research but written for a popular audience, The First American Evangelical brings Cotton Mather and his world to life in a way that helps readers understand both the Puritanism in which he grew up and the evangelicalism he pioneered.

Book News
Kennedy presents an unusual take on pastor and scholar Cotton Mather, best known for his involvement in the Salem witch trials. While Mather is perceived most commonly as a “bad guy,” one who helped sentence young and innocent women to their deaths, this book tells a different story, one of a man passionate for the Bible and the Puritan tradition--a man considered to be the “last American Puritan.” The First American Evangelical presents data used to corroborate this uncommon portrayal of Mather and focuses on Mather’s role in the tradition of American evangelism. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Grand Rapids, Michigan : William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, [2015]
ISBN: 9780802872111
Branch Call Number: 285.8 MATHE
Characteristics: xiv, 162 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm


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