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How the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make America a "Bible nation" Like many evangelical Christians, the Green family of Oklahoma City believes that America was founded as a Christian nation, based on a "biblical worldview." But the Greens are far from typical evangelicals in other ways. The billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, a huge nationwide chain of craft stores, the Greens came to national attention in 2014 after successfully suing the federal government over their religious objections to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What is less widely known is that the Greens are now America's biggest financial supporters of Christian causes--and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an ambitious effort to increase the Bible's influence on American society. In Bible Nation, Candida Moss and Joel Baden provide the first in-depth investigative account of the Greens' sweeping Bible projects and the many questions they raise. Bible Nation tells the story of the Greens' rapid acquisition of an unparalleled collection of biblical antiquities; their creation of a closely controlled group of scholars to study and promote their collection; their efforts to place a Bible curriculum in public schools; and their construction of a $500 million Museum of the Bible near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Bible Nation reveals how these seemingly disparate initiatives promote a very particular set of beliefs about the Bible--and raise serious ethical questions about the trade in biblical antiquities, the integrity of academic research, and more. Bible Nation is an important and timely account of how a vast private fortune is being used to promote personal faith in the public sphere--and why it should matter to everyone.
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Table of Contents

Preface viiIntroduction 11 The Collection 222 The Green Scholars Initiative 623 Education 994 The Museum of the Bible 137Conclusion 176Notes 195Bibliography 215Index 221

About the Author

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).


"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 Selected as a Publishers Weekly 2017 Best Book in Religion "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 "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 "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 "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 "[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 "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, starred review "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, starred review "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 naive 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

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