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In the Valley of the Dry Bones

February 13, 2014

Americans marked the birthday of the Sixteenth President of the United States yesterday, Abraham Lincoln. In honor of this, we share here a recent scholarly article by Matthew Holbreich of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and Danilo Petranovich of the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions at Yale. Based on a close reading of some of Lincoln’s most well-known speeches, the authors make two main arguments: First, Lincoln was a radical opponent of the institution of slavery throughout his life and, second, “It was Lincoln, perhaps more than anyone else, who recognized the power of Biblical narrative as a metaphor for America.” In particular, Biblical themes like covenant, purification, sacrifice, and rebirth were vital in shaping Lincoln’s thought and vision for America in its most troubled hour.

The article is available here from The History of Political Thought.


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