America’s Public Bible: Newspapers and Bible Quotes

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, newspapers regularly printed sermons, even citing the Bible in political commentary.

Lincoln Mullen, a historian at Virginia’s George Mason University, has developed “America’s Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers—using a computer program that finds and tracks biblical quotations in pages of old newspapers.”
In 1876, the verse in 1 Samuel 3:4 that reads: “The Lord called Samuel, and he answered, ‘Here I am,’” kept turning up in newspapers. Mullen discovered that Samuel Tilden was running for president that year, and using “The Lord called Samuel” as part of his campaign slogan!

Mullen has uncovered 866,000 biblical quotations in “nearly 11 million newspaper pages in the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America collection” alone!

Engage with the Bible in new ways!


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