How the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make America a “Bible nation”
The Greens of Oklahoma City—the billionaire owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores—are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an ambitious effort to increase the Bible’s influence on American society. In Bible Nation, Candida Moss and Joel Baden provide the first in-depth investigative account of the Greens’ sweeping Bible projects. Moss and Baden tell the story of the Greens’ efforts to place a Bible curriculum in public schools; their rapid acquisition of an unparalleled collection of biblical antiquities; their creation of a closely controlled group of scholars to study and promote the collection; and their construction of a $500 million Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Revealing how all these initiatives promote a very particular set of beliefs about the Bible, the book raises serious questions about the trade in biblical antiquities, the integrity of academic research, and the place of private belief in public life.
Top 100 Books of the Year
"Biblical scholars Moss (The Myth of Persecution) and Baden (The Historical David) become dogged investigative journalists as they seek to understand how the Green family, the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, have aspired to influence national politics. . . . This is a timely read for those interested in the relationship between money, faith, and American politics."
"Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden—two respected academics of religious studies—go out of their way to be objective in their reporting on the Green family's growing influence on matters concerning the Bible in our country today. . . . Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby is a brave book in these dishonest times."—Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch
“An essential, unsettling and often shocking account. . . . [A] remarkable fusion of biblical studies and investigative journalism. . . . Moss and Baden uncover many alarming details about the Greens' acquisitions and the scholars they have paid to study them.”—Sarah Posner, Washington Post
“Exhaustively reported and scrupulously fair, Bible Nation doubles as a portrait of conviction: The Greens may well be the most sincere and most-frequently misguided activists in America.”—Sarah Jones, New Republic
“Bible Nation is a geek’s delight, seasoned with the historical skulduggery and theological debate found in a Dan Brown novel or an Indiana Jones film.”—Hamilton Cain, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A troubling look into how a personal belief system can infiltrate seemingly public institutions through corporate means.”—Library Journal
"Bible Nation is meticulous, well-written, exceptionally readable, and exhaustively thorough. To their credit, the authors also do some impressive contortions to be irreproachably fair to the Greens"—Vincent Czyz, The Arts Fuse
"An impressive monograph by two scholars well-positioned to examine the impact of religion on secular life."
"Moss and Baden's account of how a family of billionaires has almost single—handedly transformed the American religious landscape—to the benefit of some and the detriment of many—will shake you to your core. This is a must read in our increasingly polarized country."—Reza Aslan, author of the New York Times bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
"Bible Nation offers a vivid tour through the catacombs of the culture wars: the unexpected political and theological battles in education policy, museum administration, and even the secretive world of international traders who buy and sell ancient manuscripts. Part cultural study, part family biography, part detective story, this book demonstrates that the Green family has accrued immense influence over the politics of religious liberty and the bounds of academic freedom in the study of the Bible."—Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism
"Engaging and timely, Bible Nation is a compelling account of the efforts of the family that owns Hobby Lobby to tell a particular story about the Bible and its role in history. The authors have done a terrific investigative job to show how problematic the foundations of the whole enterprise are, making the case that it is dangerous in its ethical evasions, its privileging of the ‘story' over the evidence, and its undermining of professional scholarly norms."—Elizabeth A. Castelli, Barnard College
"An intimate look at conservative Christianity and its biblical worldview. Riveting and disturbing."—T. M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God.