While President Abraham Lincoln’s religious life evades easy explanation, his love for the Bible and its teachings cannot be denied. He frequently laced his speeches with Biblical ideas and language, capturing the attention of a Biblically-aware audience. The question of Lincoln’s attraction to the Bible removed from organized religion deserves consideration. The Bible’s distinct role in Lincoln’s speeches may have peaked with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address. Given March 4, 1865, only six weeks before his assassination, the Second Inaugural may read as the president’s “last will and testament,” a final opportunity to preach to his nation.

Author information: Ben Atwood studies English Literature and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University (YU) and is a scholar at YU's Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. He will begin Rabbinical school at YU in the fall and hopes to create socially and politically-aware religious communities.



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