The Reverend Phillips Brooks, author of the beloved Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, was undeniably one of the most popular preachers of Gilded Age America. However, very few critical studies of his life and work exist. In this insightful book, Gillis J. Harp places Brooks's religious thought in its proper historical, cultural, and ecclesiastical contexts while clarifying the sources of Brooks's inspiration. The result is a fuller, richer portrait of this luminous figure and of this transitional era in American protestantism.
Gillis Harp's masterful treatment of Phillips Brooks in the intellectual and church context of his time is an instant classic. Dr. Harp's feel, from the inside, for Anglican Evangelicanism makes him an ideal interpreter of Brooks' ambivalent achievement. This is extremely solid scholarship, bearing somewhat devastating implications for the present. -- Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl, author of A Short Systematic Theology A fascinating, original account of one of America's greatest preachers. The author draws upon historical, literary, architectural, and theological analysis to demonstrate the ways Phillips Brooks reflected and transformed his times-concluding with a sober assessment of his legacy in our own day. -- Daniel Walker Howe, Oxford University This fresh account of the life of Phillips Brooks takes seriously his religious thought. Harp places Brooks within the context of the conflicts in late 19th-century American Episcopalianism and in the larger context of American Protestant liberalism. The result is a biography through which the reader simultaneously gains insight into the life of one of the most important clergymen of the Gilded Age, is led through the tangle of denominational battles that persist in American Episcopalianism to the present, and is provided with perspectives on the path of American liberal Protestantism. Brooks's life and thought are the prism through which both Broad Church Episcopalianism and liberal Protestantism are refracted with insight and clarity. Recommended. * CHOICE * An expert examination of Brooks's powerful pulpit oratory. * Religious Studies Review * A thoroughly researched, gracefully written, learned, and insightful account of nineteenth-century Episcopal preacher Phillips Brooks's religious thought. * American Historical Review * This work is much more than an excellent biography of Phillips Brooks. It is set in such a wide-ranging authoritative theological context that Brooks is truly seen as a 'Path of Liberal Protestantism' stretching from the 17th century to our own times. -- The Right Reverend Christopher FitzSimmons Allison