Dear Workshop,


On Thursday, February 23rd, we will be having a special lunch and discussion with Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at Notre Dame University.


Our discussion will focus on some of Professor Noll’s work on the Civil War, including his reviews of David Goldfield’s America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, George C. Rable’s God’s Almost Chosen People: A Religious History of the American Civil War, Harry S. Stout’s Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War, and Professor Noll’s own article “Battle for the Bible” from the Christian Century.


Lunch will begin at 12:00pm in the Swift Hall Common Room, with a discussion of  the works to follow. Please email Paul Chang at for a copy of the papers under discussion and to RSVP for lunch.


The following is a short excerpt from Prof. Noll’s review of Rable’s book:


Finally, Rable demonstrates convincingly that the war between the states was, by far, “the ‘holiest’ war in American history” (p. 397).  It was not that religious disputes per se brought on the conflict or that troops and home fronts were by any means all faithfully pious or that religious considerations monopolized efforts to explain the conflict.  Rather, it was that religion “added a moral and often uncompromising intensity” (p. 49) to every phase of the war.  Moreover, the perhaps one-fifth to one-third of the populace for whom religious conviction was manifestly central “occupied a powerful if not commanding position in American intellectual, social, and cultural life” (p. 49).  In addition, interpretations of the war “under God” and in light of eternity were in both the shallow civil religion of the masses and the profound meditations of Abraham Lincoln the most serious efforts that Americans attempted during the conflict and immediately thereafter to fathom the meaning of the war’s immense destruction, the social revolution it caused for slaves and former slave owners, and the cultural earthquake it represented in so many spheres.


Best wishes to all,




Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Paul Chang in advance at