Preface vii Introduction 1 1 The Collection 22 2 The Green Scholars Initiative 62 3 Education 99 4 The Museum of the Bible 137 Conclusion 176 Notes 195 Bibliography 215 Index 221
Candida R. Moss is professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame and the author of, among other books, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Dangerous Legacy (HarperOne). Joel S. Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at the Yale Divinity School. His books include The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero (HarperOne).
Two biblical scholars combine to dig into the actions and words of the billionaire Green family, founders of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores. . . . Moss and Baden portray the Green family members and their key executives as sincere evangelicals and benevolent employers. Throughout the book, however, they also show the Greens as na ve or disingenuous. To be sure, the family's proselytizing is not neutral. Rather, they are promoting a historically inaccurate saga of the U.S. as an exclusionary Christian nation meant to marry church and state. . . . Impressive . . . Well-positioned to examine the impact of religion on secular life.--Kirkus Moss and Baden's meticulous research will stand up to the most rigorous scrutiny, as they manage to stay dispassionate without judgement. . . . A troubling look into how a personal belief system can infiltrate seemingly public institutions through corporate means.--Library Journal [Moss and Baden's] concerns have merit, and by choosing to explore this particular front of the culture wars, they effectively cast light on issues that are American to the core: the belief that God blesses the faithful with financial success, the assumption that success in business verifies people as experts in realms they know little about, the notion that America is essentially and indisputably a Christian nation (and the public square ought therefore to reflect that essence), the dismissal of expert opinion when that opinion runs counter to popular belief, and the refusal of many people to examine their faith with a critical eye. In sum, Bible Nation illustrates what many nonevangelicals find so disturbing about America in the age of Trump, though it also reminds its readers that these untoward elements of American life long predated the election of our billionaire president. Surely they will outlive him as well.--Christian Century Biblical scholars Moss (The Myth of Persecution) and Baden (The Historical David) become dogged investigative journalists as they seek to understand how the Green family, the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, have aspired to influence national politics. . . . While depicting the Greens as well-intentioned, Moss and Baden make an impassioned case for fighting against the family's efforts to limit access to their questionably sourced collection and to misrepresent their work as nonsectarian when it is entrenched in a deeply American evangelical worldview. . . . This is a timely read for those interested in the relationship between money, faith, and American politics.--Publishers Weekly "Engaging and timely, Bible Nation is a compelling account of the efforts of the family that owns Hobby Lobby to tell a particular story about the Bible and its role in history. The authors have done a terrific investigative job to show how problematic the foundations of the whole enterprise are, making the case that it is dangerous in its ethical evasions, its privileging of the 'story' over the evidence, and its undermining of professional scholarly norms."--Elizabeth A. Castelli, Barnard College "Bible Nation is a deft and insightful portrait of pious evangelicals who are utterly convinced of their beliefs--and unable to see them in any kind of critical light. At the very least, the naivet is deeply detrimental to biblical scholarship and to a thoughtful public comprehension of the Bible. Bible Nation is an important addition to the understanding of contemporary evangelicalism."--Margaret Bendroth, author of The Last Puritans: Mainline Protestants and the Power of the Past "An intimate look at conservative Christianity and its biblical worldview. Riveting and disturbing."--T. M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God "Bible Nation offers a vivid tour through the catacombs of the culture wars: the unexpected political and theological battles in education policy, museum administration, and even the secretive world of international traders who buy and sell ancient manuscripts. Part cultural study, part family biography, part detective story, this book demonstrates that the Green family has accrued immense influence over the politics of religious liberty and the bounds of academic freedom in the study of the Bible."--Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism "Moss and Baden's account of how a family of billionaires has almost single--handedly transformed the American religious landscape--to the benefit of some and the detriment of many--will shake you to your core. This is a must read in our increasingly polarized country."--Reza Aslan, author of the New York Times bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth "Absolutely riveting. Without exaggeration, this is one of the most interesting books I have read in years. Moss and Baden have embedded a searing indictment within a compelling detective story that ranges from academic intrigue to divinely inspired business acumen, with a driving narrative and a cast of characters worthy of Hollywood, except that this is real life. Bible Nation should be required reading for anyone even thinking of visiting the Museum of the Bible."--Eric H. Cline, author of Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology One could argue that it's the civic duty of skeptics to go take a look--but with a copy of Bible Nation firmly in hand.---Sarah Posner, Washington Post Highly worth reading.---Tara Isabella Burton, Vox Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden--two respected academics of religious studies--go out of their way to be objective in their reporting on the Green family's growing influence on matters concerning the Bible in our country today. . . . Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby is a brave book in these dishonest times.---Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch Candida Moss and Joel Baden's new book illustrates how, with a net worth of nearly $4 billion, the family behind Hobby Lobby is stepping outside the corporate sphere and showing how faith and prosperity can powerfully influence the American public.---Charlotte Salley, The American Scholar Moss and Baden deftly highlight the cognitive dissonance at the heart of the evangelicalism, how and why the faithful cherry-pick Scriptures that buttress their own beliefs while dismissing contradictions among the texts themselves. . . . [The authors] draw on extensive research and interviews with a revolving-door cast of so-called experts and hangers-on, leaving no proverbial stone unturned in their quest to determine the value and validity of the Green collection, the Bible Museum's underlying purpose. Bible Nation peels away the bark on one of the largest branches of the American family tree, using an academic story to tell a broader one: the evangelicals' unshakable conviction in their own fantasies and the demonization of anything, or anyone, that dares to challenge them.---Hamilton Cain, Minneapolis Star Tribune Exhaustively reported and scrupulously fair, Bible Nation doubles as a portrait of conviction: The Greens may well be the most sincere and most-frequently misguided activists in America.---Sarah Jones, The New Republic Selected as a Publishers Weekly 2017 Best Book in Religion