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“Christianity and Mountainanity”: The Restoration Movement’s Influence on John Muir

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Abstract The theological underpinnings of John Muir’s work and thought have, justifiably, received a fair amount of scholarly attention. Most of the early scholarship, however, focused on correlations between Muir’s beliefs and pantheism, and ignored the more immediate influence exerted on Muir by his upbringing in the Disciples of Christ. More recent scholars, such as Donald Worster, Dennis Williams, and Stephen Holmes, have attested to the significance of Muir’s Disciples of Christ background but have so far failed to explicate its influence. Yet we know from Muir’s letters that he remained engaged with Disciples’ people and issues throughout his life. Despite occasional dissatisfaction expressed toward his childhood faith, he could never entirely escape it, and a consideration of Muir’s thought in relation to the dominant themes of Disciples theology reveals a close relationship between the two. In numerous ways, the tenets of the Disciples of Christ belief system guide Muir’s thought and mission: his anthropological views, his beliefs on sin and salvation, his approach to politics, and his eschatological mission to encourage harmony among all created beings, are shaped by Disciples of Christ theology.

Affiliations: 1: Baylor University Waco, Texas


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