George Marsden

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George Marsden
George Mish Marsden

(1939-02-25) February 25, 1939 (age 84)
Lucie Commeret
(m. 1969)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisThe New School Presbyterian Mind[1] (1966)
Doctoral advisorSydney E. Ahlstrom
Academic work
Doctoral students
Main interestsAmerican evangelicalism
Notable worksJonathan Edwards: A Life (2003)

George Mish Marsden (born 1939) is an American historian who has written extensively on the interaction between Christianity and American culture, particularly on Christianity in American higher education and on American evangelicalism. He is best known for his award-winning biography of the New England clergyman Jonathan Edwards, a prominent theologian of Colonial America.[3]


Marsden was born on February 25, 1939, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[2] He attended Haverford College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Yale University, completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree[2] in American history under Sydney E. Ahlstrom. He taught at Calvin College (1965–1986), Duke Divinity School (1986–1992), and as Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame (1992–2008).[4] As of 2017 Marsden is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.[5] His former doctoral students include Diana Butler Bass, Matthew Grow, Thomas S. Kidd, Steven Nolt, and Rick Ostrander.[6]

He was awarded the Bancroft Prize for his book Jonathan Edwards: A Life in 2004, the Merle Curti Award in 2004,[7] and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion in 2005.[4]

Selected works[edit]

  • Evangelical Mind and the New School Presbyterian Experience. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. 1970.
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism, 1870–1925. New York: Oxford University Press. 1980.
  • Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 1991.
  • The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief. New York: Oxford University Press. 1994.
  • Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 1995.
  • Marsden, George M. (1997). The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195122909.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-512290-9.
  • Jonathan Edwards: A Life. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. 2003. ISBN 9780300096934.
  • A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 2008.
  • The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. New York: Basic Books. 2014.
  • C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: A Biography. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 2016.



  1. ^ Marsden 1966.
  2. ^ a b c "Marsden, George (Mish) 1939–" 2006, p. 272.
  3. ^ Hansen, Collin (February 5, 2009). "Marsden Discusses 'Short Life of Jonathan Edwards'". Christian History. Christianity Today. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "2005 – George M. Marsden". Grawemeyer Awards. Louisville, Kentucky: University of Louisville. July 21, 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "George Marsden". Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Dochuk, Kidd & Peterson 2014.
  7. ^ "Merle Curti Award Winners," Organization of American Historians.Accessed 18 Apr. 2020.


  • Dochuk, Darren; Kidd, Thomas S.; Peterson, Kurt W., eds. (2014). "Appendix: George Marsden's Doctoral Students and Their Dissertations". American Evangelism: George Marsden and the State of American Religious History. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 978-0-268-15855-2.
  • Marsden, George M. (1966). The New School Presbyterian Mind: A Study of Theology in Mid-Nineteenth Century America (PhD thesis). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University. OCLC 13386337.
  • "Marsden, George (Mish) 1939–". Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. Vol. 142. Detroit, Michigan: Gale. 2006. pp. 272–276. ISBN 978-1-4144-0544-5. ISSN 0275-7176.
Preceded by Bancroft Prize
With: Edward L. Ayers and Steven Hahn
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
Succeeded by
Preceded by Merle Curti Award in
Intellectual History

Succeeded by
Preceded by Grawemeyer Award in Religion
Succeeded by