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Rockefeller, John Davison Sr.

(128 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Jul 8, 1839, Richford, NY – May 23, 1937, Ormond Beach, FL), business magnate and philanthropist, established himself by the 1870s as a leader for the new oil industry. His Standard Oil Company became the source of great personal wealth. Through his mother, Eliza Davison, Rockefeller received a strong Baptist upbringing. Throughout his life he contributed regularly to many churches and voluntary societies. Although leaders of the Social Gospel like W. Gladden urged church groups …

Jefferson, Thomas

(199 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Apr 13, 1743, Albemarle County, VA – Jul 4, 1826, Monticello, VA), was the third president of the United States and played an important role in American religious history. He was the author of Virginia's landmark “Statute for Freedom of Religion” of 1786, which set the pattern that the whole United States would follow in guaranteeing nearly complete religious liberty. Jefferson's beliefs became the subject of political controversy when his opponents in the presidential campaign o…

Davies, Robertson

(151 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Aug 28, 1913, Thamesville, Ontario – Feb 12, 1995, Orangeville, Ontario), Canada's leading 20th-century novelist. In his works Davies regularly employed religious symbols, disputes, traditions, and hagiography. After working in the theater and as an editor of the Examiner, published in Peterborough, ¶ Ontario, he became Master of Massey College, University of Toronto, in 1963, where he served until retirement. Davies's novels included three trilogies: …

Union Theological Seminary

(153 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (UTS). America’s first interdenominational theological seminary was founded in 1836 by “New School” Presbyterians. From 1870 to 1892 it served the Northern Presbyterian Church, but became independent once again when C.A. Briggs was expelled from the denomination for promoting higher critical views of Scripture. Notable faculty in the 19th century included the theologian Henry Boynton Smith and P. Schaff. Ties with Germany remained strong into the 20th century, especially with the …

Sheen, Fulton John

(188 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (May 8, 1895, El Paso, IL – Dec 1, 1979, NY), the leading public voice for American Roman Catholicism for much of the 20th century. He was ordained a priest in 1919 and then did doctoral study at Louvain, Rome, and Washington, DC. From 1926 to 1950 he lectured in philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and from 1966 to 1969 he served as bishop of Rochester, New York. Sheen’s public renown began in 1930 as the featured speaker on “Catholic Hour Broadcasts” for NBC radio. …

Weld, Theodore Dwight

(140 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 23, 1803, Hampton, CT – Feb 3, 1895, Hyde Park, MA) was a leading opponent of slavery (Abolitionism); he was converted in 1826 under the preaching of C.G. Finney. In 1834 he led a group of students out of Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, in order to found Oberlin College, the nation’s first institution of higher learning to welcome women. From the mid-1830s Weld was one of America’s best-known abolitionist orators; he made converts but also generated mob opposition. Worn out by his…

Swift, Jonathan

(134 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 30, 1667, Dublin – Oct 19, 1745, Dublin), Anglo-Irish satirist, poet, and patriot, studied at Trinity College (Dublin) before receiving his degree at Oxford (1692) and being ordained an Anglican clergyman (1695). From 1713 on, he served as dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin. His graphic, forceful publications attacked Deism, dissenting Protestantism (Dissenters), scientific naturalism, and political corruption. His greatest satire, The Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver (2 vols., 1726), used fanciful descriptions of i…

Brown, George

(89 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 29, 1818, Alloa, Scotland – May 9, 1880, Toronto), a Presbyterian journalist and politician. Brown emigrated from Scotland to New York (1837) and then to Toronto (1843). After the Disruption of 1843 divided the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (Presbyterians), Brown and his father Peter were energetic advocates of the Free Church. In various newspapers, especially the Toronto Globe, Brown ¶ supported Protestantism and resisted the influence of Roman Catholicism. Mark A. Noll Bibliography J.M.S. Careless, Brown of the Globe, 2 vols., 1959/63 (repr. 1989).

Common Sense Realism

(764 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] has two histories. The first concerns the effort by Thomas Reid (1710–1796) to refute the skeptical conclusions that D. Hume had drawn from the sensationalist epistemology of J. Locke. Reid's main argument was that sense perceptions, operating under normal conditions disclose the material world as it is.They are not, as Locke had suggested, merely “ideas.” Reid suggested rather that the human mind is structured in such a way that it is impossible to act…
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