Christian History timeline: Haunted by the word

[Frederick Douglass (1840s), Unknown Author.— / [Public domain] Wikimedia]

1630 John Winthrop preaches “A Model of Christian Charity,” including the “city on a hill” metaphor. William Bradford begins Of Plimouth Plantation, which he will finish in 1651.

1641 The founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony draft the “Body of Liberties.”

1663 John Eliot translates the Bible into Algonquian, the first Bible translation printed in America.

1681 The charter is signed for the territory of Pennsylvania, which William Penn intends to make a settlement for religious liberty.

1682 Mary Rowlandson publishes A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.

1693 Cotton Mather begins work on the first American Bible commentary, Biblia Americana. 

1702 Mather publishes his church history, Magnalia Christi Americana.

1734 Northampton Revival begins under Jonathan Edwards, a prominent event in the First Great Awakening. The Awakening will continue until about 1745.

1743 A printing of Luther’s German Bible arrives in America.

1749 Gilbert Tennent preaches an important sermon in honor of Britain’s victory in King George’s War.

1770 Phillis Wheatley publishes An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of that Celebrated Divine, and Eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Reverend and Learned George Whitefield.

1773 Wheatley publishes Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

1776 Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.

1782 The first King James Bible is printed in the United States.

1783 Ezra Stiles preaches “The United States Elevated to Glory and Honour,” describing the United States as a “new Israel.”

1789 Elias Boudinot advances the idea for the United States’ first national Thanksgiving.

— 1794 Richard Allen founds the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

1801 Boudinot publishes The Age of Revelation.

1804 Thomas Jefferson begins compiling a miracle-free edition of the Bible. Sometime before 1820 he will finish it, calling it The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

1806 Lyman Beecher (father of Harriet Beecher Stowe) publishes the first of many sermons and treatises.

1809 The New York Bible Society is founded. In 1989 it will be renamed the International Bible Society and in 2009 Biblica.

1816 The American Bible Society (ABS) is founded. 

1818 ABS makes its first Bible translation, into the Lenape language.

1829 David Walker publishes Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World.

1838 Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon is first published.

1844 The Philadelphia Bible Riots take place over a rumor that Catholics want the Bible removed from public schools.

1845 Frederick Douglass publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

1848 Moses Stuart publishes Scriptural View of the Wine Question.

1851 Herman Melville publishes Moby-Dick.

1852 Frederick Douglass delivers “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” 

1855 Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass, which he calls “the Great Construction of a New Bible.”

1856 Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation is formally published.

1861 The Civil War begins. Julia Ward Howe writes the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

1865 Abraham Lincoln delivers his Second Inaugural Address.

1868 Dawson Burns and Frederic Lees publish the Temperance Bible Commentary in Britain. A US edition follows in 1870.

1896 William Jennings Bryan first delivers his “Cross of Gold” speech.

1897 Paul Laurence Dunbar publishes the poem “Ante-Bellum Sermon.” Producers film a Bohemian passion play, considered the first use of the Bible in movies.

1901 The American Standard Version (ASV) translation of the Bible is released.

1911 Woodrow Wilson delivers his speech “The Bible and Progress” on the 300th anniversary of the KJV.

1913 Quo Vadis?, the first Hollywood blockbuster, premieres; it is based on a story set in the early church.

1925 William Jennings Bryan takes part in the Scopes Trial.

1936 William Faulkner publishes Absalom, Absalom!

1944 Franklin Delano Roosevelt issues his D-Day prayer.

1952 Perry Miller popularizes the “city on a hill” motif in his book Errand into the Wilderness. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) translation of the Bible is released.

1954 Congress adds the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

1956 The Ten Commandments premieres.

1957 Carl McIntire founds the Bible Presbyterian Church.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. publishes Letter from a Birmingham Jail; Kurt Vonnegut publishes Cat’s Cradle.

1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told is released.

1966 The ABS releases Good News for Modern Man, a groundbreaking translation of the Bible into twentieth-century English. 

1968 King delivers his “mountaintop” address.

1969 John McConnell proposes the creation of Earth Day.

1978 The New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible is released.

1979 Jesus, usually known as “The Jesus Movie” or “The Jesus Film,” is released. 

1989 The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation of the Bible is released.

1993 Eugene Peterson begins publishing parts of The Message, one of the most popular modern Bible paraphrases. He will complete it in 2002.

1994 The Shawshank Redemption is released.

1998 The Prince of Egypt is released.

2001 The English Standard Version (ESV) translation of the Bible is released.

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #138 in 2021]

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