Thomas Kidd, distinguished professor of history and associate director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, has published a major new biography, Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2017).
I sat down with my co-blogger for TGC’s Evangelical History blog and picked his brain on Franklin, his evangelical sister, the type of Christian Deist he was, and whether there was a deathbed conversion. Below the video you’ll find a timestamp map to our half-hour conversation.
0:01-1:49 What is the process for writing a book like this?
1:50-3:59 What are some of the major events of Franklin’s life?`
4:00-5:54 What was Franklin’s religious upbringing like?
5:55-7:59 Who was Franklin’s sister Jane what was their relationship like?
8:00-9:24 Did Franklin ever meet Jonathan Edwards?
9:25-12:11 How did Franklin come to know George Whitefield?
12:10-14:39 Did Franklin often hear Whitefield preach?
14:40-18:08 What was the Enlightenment? What is Deism?
18:09-19:07 Did Franklin ever talk about the Trinity?
19:08-21:08 What was Franklin’s view of providence? As a Deist, did he believe God wound up the world and let it run?
21:09-24:27 Were there any rumors of a deathbed conversion?
24:28-24:43 What are your next writing projects?