Book Review

The fountain of public prosperity, II: Attending to the national soul. Evangelical Christians in Australian history, 1914-2014

Citation

Bebbington D (2021) The fountain of public prosperity, II: Attending to the national soul. Evangelical Christians in Australian history, 1914-2014. Review of: The fountain of public prosperity, II: Attending to the national soul. Evangelical Christians in Australian history, 1914–2014. By Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder. Pp. xvi + 640 incl. 3 tables. Clayton: Monash University Publishing, 2020. 978 1 925835 36 6. Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 72 (2), pp. 455-457. https://doi.org/10.1017/s002204692000295x

Abstract
First paragraph: Manning Clark, the author of the six-volume The history of Australia (1962–87), presented his story in the earlier volumes as a struggle for the soul (a term he employed) of the land between Catholicism, Protestantism and the Enlightenment. In the present book, the authors, Stuart Piggin, formerly of Macquarie University, and Robert Linder of Kansas State University, follow Clark in his quest for the religious sources of Australian identity. The book, they say, is ‘a study of the role of the Gospel in nation-building’ (p. 559). The title is taken from an address by Peter Jensen, who when he became archbishop of Sydney in 2001 declared that the problems of Australia were chiefly spiritual but that the Church had ‘ceased to attend to the national soul’ (p. 513). The authors have set out to investigate the role of Evangelicals, the great majority of the Protestant population down at least to the 1930s, in addressing the issues of Australian culture and politics from the arrival of British convicts in the eighteenth century onwards. Volume i, published in 2018, argued that parallel empires, British and Evangelical, existed during the long nineteenth century. This second volume depicts the decline of British imperial identity and the rise of a distinctive Australian self-image. Both volumes aim to show that previous historical work has seriously underestimated the contribution of Evangelical Christians of all denominations to the developing life of the Australian people.

Journal
Journal of Ecclesiastical History: Volume 72, Issue 2

StatusPublished
Publication date30/04/2021
Publication date online06/04/2021
Date accepted by journal06/04/2021
ISSN0022-0469
eISSN1469-7637
Item discussedThe fountain of public prosperity, II: Attending to the national soul. Evangelical Christians in Australian history, 1914–2014. By Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder. Pp. xvi + 640 incl. 3 tables. Clayton: Monash University Publishing, 2020. 978 1 925835 36 6