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On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding [Hardcover]

By Michael Novak (Author)
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Item description for On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding by Michael Novak...

Outline Review"In one key respect, the way the story of the United States has been told for the past one hundred years is wrong," writes Michael Novak. "To read most philosophers and historians of the American polity today is to learn that America is an historical embodiment of secular philosophy, the Enlightenment." Nothing could be further from the truth, says Novak, who sets out to demonstrate just how important religious faith was to the founders. He makes a spirited case, noting, for example, that the very first act of the First Continental Congress, in 1774, was to make a public prayer. Of the 3,154 "citations in the writings of the founders," 34 percent are to the Bible. He provides dozens of similar examples. On Two Wings does not proceed as a traditional narrative; Novak favors extensive block quotations from his sources and conveys a whole chapter in question-and-answer format. In addition, a major part of the book is an appendix that provides brief sketches of the lesser-known founders. What the book lacks in narrative elegance it makes up for in forceful argument-- it pulls off the trick of being both brief and thorough. Readers who admire Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis will appreciate this book, especially if they are religiously inclined. --John Miller


Product Description
"The leaders of the American Revolution were not, like the leaders of the French revolution, secularists. They did not set out to erase religion. Quite the opposite." Michael Novak points out in this brilliant book about the birth of the American idea that the very first act of the Continental Congress in September, 1774, was to pray to Divine Providence for insight on how to respond to news of the British bombardment of Boston. In setting a course for republican self-government, the founders not only believed that they were acting reasonably but that they were carrying out God's commandment. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God."

Of course there had been religious peoples before in history-including Jews and Christians-who did not see in faith the beacon of civil liberty. Novak points out that the American eagle could not have risen without the empirical turn of mind embodied in John Locke's teaching on the ends of government and the consent of the governed. Yet as he also shows, the founders believed that liberty depended on certain habits of the heart-and that these in turn depended on faith as well as reason. Novak probes the innermost convictions of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and the others who helped the American eagle to take wing. He shows how they were able to find common ground by appealing to the God of the Hebrews. He traces what happened to this "Hebrew metaphysics" as the world of the founders became the world of modernity. In the course of his career, Michael Novak has written several prize-winning books on theology and philosophy. Now, in "On Two Wings," he has written a profound work on American history and on human nature and destiny as well.



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Item Specifications...


Studio: Encounter Books
Pages   218
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.24" Width: 6.24" Height: 0.95"
Weight:   1.19 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2003
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1893554341  
ISBN13  9781893554344  


Availability  0 units.


More About Michael Novak


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! In 1994 Michael Novak was awarded the $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He presently holds the Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > Colonial Period > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History


Christian Product Categories
Books > Education (K-12) > Social Science > History



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Reviews - What do customers think about On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding?

Things you'll never learn in public school.  Mar 29, 2008
In a word, BRILLIANT!!!! We seem to be surrounded today by people who have wrongly interpreted the intentions of the nation's founders regarding religion. Novak decisively eradicates the false theories being pushed on our society, even by our own judicial system. Novak superbly presents the case that the founders intent was not to eradicate religious belief, but rather to avoid divisions of religious sentiment and find common ground among the Hebrew and Christian faiths.

When examining the founders, many fail to recognize what life was like under the Anglican Establishment, which the founders sought to end. While being against the national establishment of a secular religion, the founder's went so far as to support the state establishment of such.

While the first half of the book examines the intent of the founders, the second half takes a look at some of the founders who have been often overlooked by historians for their religious views.

Overall, this book is clear and accurate. I was thoroughly impressed by the authors' research. The book reads extremely well. I only had two complaints about the book, I wished it were another thousand pages, as I absolutely did not want this book to end, and the font size was a little small, making it difficult for us old codgers.

This is a book I will keep on the bookshelf by my desk, as I am sure I will reference this magnificent work often. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone interested in learning the true intent behind the separation of church and state.
 
I did not read but gave the book as a gift  Sep 6, 2007
This was given as a gift to someone so I've not read the book, but I knew the person was very interested in getting a copy.
 
Things You'll Never Learn in Public School  Jan 31, 2003
In a word, BRILLIANT!!!! We seem to be surrounded today by people who have wrongly interpreted the intentions of the nation's founders regarding religion. Novak decisively eradicates the false theories being pushed on our society, even by our own judicial system. Novak superbly presents the case that the founders intent was not to eradicate religious belief, but rather to avoid divisions of religious sentiment and find common ground among the Hebrew and Christian faiths.

When examining the founders, many fail to recognize what life was like under the Anglican Establishment, which the founders sought to end. While being against the national establishment of a secular religion, the founder's went so far as to support the state establishment of such.

While the first half of the book examines the intent of the founders, the second half takes a look at some of the founders who have been often overlooked by historians for their religious views.

Overall, this book is clear and accurate. I was thoroughly impressed by the authors' research. The book reads extremely well. I only had two complaints about the book, I wished it were another thousand pages, as I absolutely did not want this book to end, and the font size was a little small, making it difficult for us old codgers.

This is a book I will keep on the bookshelf by my desk, as I am sure I will reference this magnificent work often. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone interested in learning the true intent behind the separation of church and state.
 
One Winged Birds Can't Fly  Dec 10, 2002
One-winged birds can't fly. That's why Michael Novak, the author of "On Two Wings," asserts that the history of the United States has been taught incorrectly for the past 100 years. The American Republic took flight on two healthy wings, one called Faith and the other called Reason. American history, as taught now in our schools, would have students believe our Founders set flight with one wing only: Reason.

Novak, the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy and Director of Social and Political Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, makes a strong case for both wings working together. But today the wing of Faith is the one too severely clipped to work as it should.

For instance, most people today believe that the Enlightenment was more critical to the American Founders than the Old Testament. The historical record shows that it was the Old Testament that was far more important than the Enlightenment.

That's because the Founders held a "Hebrew metaphysic," which included the concepts of time having a beginning and an end, and of final judgment in the hereafter for human actions in this life. The Founders agreed with the Hebrews, that time is linear, not cyclical, as the ancient pagans believed. And the Declaration refers to God as "the Supreme Judge of the world."

This "metaphysic" - a mix of theology and philosophy - gave the Founders a wonderful nomenclature in which to express political ideas. The Founders wisely shunned specific theological terms, such as Savior, Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and used instead the imagery of the Old Testament. In this way, they charted a course for common ground. This book should be required reading in college political science programs.

 
On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American  Jul 22, 2002
Citizens who have been led to believe that the Founding Fathers intended to establish a republic free from religion need to read this book and the cited sources. From Jefferson to the Presbyterian minister Witherspoon (who was president of Princeton), all believed that religon and the unfettered public worship of God was vital to a free and moral society. Read this book and learn what the men who fashioned our form of goverment really believed. It's not what the revisionists would have us think.
 

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