From Circuit Rider's Wife to Spiritual Pundit

Catherine Oglesby

in Corra Harris and the Divided Mind of the New South

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032474
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038728 | DOI:
From Circuit Rider's Wife to Spiritual Pundit

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This chapter discusses Harris's religious identity which is significant for understanding her life and her works. Although one scholar said that although Harris was famous for her attachment to traditional religion and piety, such a reputation belies her religious identity. Harris's reputation for conservative and traditional Christian values is understandable given the moralism that pervades her work. A self-proclaimed moral snob, Harris often used the southern evangelical discourse, believed in the significance of teaching the Ten Commandments in schools, and preferred the Old to the New Testament. However, Corra Harris, the circuit rider's wife is not of the evangelical south. In thinking and behavior, she was a long way from either traditional piety or the region's evangelical tradition. Although she believed in some of the ideas of religion, more often than not she expresses her aversion and non-belief to some of its ideas. While she read the Bible, she read it more as a literature than as a guide and instruction that would mold her life. Her works often suggest something more akin to deism than evangelicalism, and she was often a naturalist in many of her theological positions. Her experience of the divine was at times personal, but more often she wrote of God as an impersonal force.

Keywords: religious identity; moral snob; Harris; moralism; religion; deism; theological positions

Chapter.  15019 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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