This repository is a collection of books that are part of what historian Eran Shalev has dubbed the "pseudo-biblical genre"--books written in America between 1740 and about 1830 that borrow the authority of biblical language to express historical, political, or religious perspectives.
How can I help?
The books in this respository are in varying states of completeness. The goal is to create a perfectly accurate textual representation of each book.
- If you have access to a library that has one of our "Missing Text" books, please help us type it up!
- Or better yet, if it's a digital scan of the book, please send it to us!
- For texts say "OCR Only", we know the quality of the scans are poor. We need human reviewers to go in there and compare the images of the scanned text with the text file and make corrections.
Interested in helping? Want to join WordTree? Send an email to email@example.com
Status of Books
- [Chronicles](pseudo_biblical/Chronicles, The Maryland Journal - 1766.md) (1766)
- [Chronicles](pseudo_biblical/Chronicles - Massachusetts Centinal - 1786.md) (1786)
- [The Book of Preferment](pseudo_biblical/The Book of Preferment - Horace Walpole - 1742.md) (1742)
- [The Conquest of Canaan](pseudo_biblical/The Conquest of Canaan - Timothy Dwight - 1785.md) (1785)
- [The epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp](pseudo_biblical/The Epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp - 1827.md) (1827)
- [The Late War](pseudo_biblical/The Late War - Gilbert Hunt - 1817 (archive.org).md) (1817)
- [True Relation of the Holy War](pseudo_biblical/True Relation of the Holy War - 1806.md) (1670 or so)
- [Chronicles of Andrew](pseudo_biblical/Chronicles of Andrew - Jesse Denson - 1815.md) (1815)
- [The Fall of Samuel the Squomicutite ALT](pseudo_biblical/The Fall of Samuel the Squomicutite ALT - 1763.md) (1763)
- [The Late War](pseudo_biblical/The Late War - Gilbert Hunt - 1816.md) (1816)
- [The Late War](pseudo_biblical/The Late War - Gilbert Hunt - 1819.md) (1819)
- [Chiefs of Muttonville](pseudo_biblical/A Chronicle of the Chiefs of Muttonville - White Griswold - 1830.md) (1830)
- [Chapter 37th](pseudo_biblical/Chapter 37th - 1782.md) (1782)
- [Chronicles of Nathan Ben Saddi](pseudo_biblical/Chronicles of Nathan Ben Saddi - 1758.md) (1758)
- [Reformer Chronicles](pseudo_biblical/Reformer Chronicles - 1832.md) (1832)
- [The American Revolution](pseudo_biblical/The American Revolution - Richard Snowden - 1802.md) (1766)
- [The Book of America](pseudo_biblical/The Book of America - 1766.md) (1766)
- [1st Book of the Chronicle of the Kings of England](pseudo_biblical/The Chronicle of the Kings of England, 1st Book - Robert Dodsley - 1744.md) (1744)
- [2nd Book of the Chronicle of the Kings of England](pseudo_biblical/The Chronicle of the Kings of England, 2nd Book - Robert Dodsley - 1744.md) (1744)
- [The Fall of Samuel the Squomicutite](pseudo_biblical/The Fall of Samuel the Squomicutite - 1763.md) (1763)
- [The First Book of the American Chronicles of the Times](pseudo_biblical/The First Book of the American Chronicles - John Leacock - 1775.md) (1775)
- [The First Book of the Chronicles of John](pseudo_biblical/The First Book of the Chronicles of John - 1812.md) (1812)
- [The French Gasconade Defeated](pseudo_biblical/The French Gasconade Defeated - 1743.md) (1743)
- [The Book of Mormon](pseudo_biblical/Book of Mormon - Joseph Smith - 1830.md) (1830)
Foreseeable Anticipated Questions
Why was the Pseudo-Biblical genre popular?
"Americans ... intensified the discourse of America as a chosen nation; unsurprisingly, many of the texts written in biblical language referred explicitly to America as "Israel" (and hence of their rivals as helplessly degenerate gentiles). By alluding to the past of God's chosen people through the use of the distinctive language in which that history was originally articulated, Americans attempted not to alter the received facts of that revered history but rather to invoke the authority and meaning that Old Testament history exerted and apply it to their present. The use of biblical language was thus not (only) a way to make the Bible relevant to America; it was an effective way to make America relevant to the Bible, to biblicize America." -- Eran Shalev
"By imposing the Bible and its intellectual and cultural landscapes on America, those texts placed the United States in a biblical timeframe, describing the new nation and its history as occurring in a distant, revered, and mythic dimension." -- Eran Shalev
"the Old Testament is truly so omnipresent in the American culture of 1800 or 1820 that historians have as much difficulty taking cognizance of it as of the air the people breathed." -- Perry Miller
What does it have to do with the Book of Mormon?
Eran Shalev has identified the Book of Mormon as belonging to this genre. Our work has independently found connections between some of the books (i.e. The Late War by Gilbert Hunt) and The Book of Mormon. We are continuing to study these books through computer algorithms as well as traditional historical and linguistic methods.