Bush’s Bible as a Liberal Bible

(Strange Though that Might Seem)


  • Yvonne Sherwood




religion, nature, culture


This essay introduces the four articles collected in this issue of Postscripts as a forum on the theme, “Bush’s Bible.” It also argues that Bush’s Bible can be explained as an example of the “Liberal Bible,” a Bible invented in early modernity, though often misunderstood as expressing the Christian Bible’s original, true nature. The recent history of the Liberal Bible needs to be told and analysed in order to understand the fudged religious–secular compromises of modernity. The very vagueness of Bush’s Bible as a loose repository of principles is a symptom of the paradoxical place of the Bible in modern democratic-(Christian) states.


Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. D. Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Berlinerblau, Jacques. 2005. The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blair, Tony. 2006. Interview with Michael Parkinson on ITV1. March 4.

Bush, George W. 2005. Inaugural Address. http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/gwbushinaugural-2005.shtml. Accessed 28 January 2007.

Collinson, Patrick. 1997. “Biblical Rhetoric: The English Nation and National Sentiment in Prophetic Mode.” In Religion and Culture in Renaissance England, ed. Claire McEachern and Debora Shuger, 15–45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cooperman, Alan. 2004. “Openly Religious, to a Point: Bush Leaves the Specifics of His Faith to Speculation.” The Washington Post. September 16. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24634-2004Sep15_4.html. Accessed 28 January 2007.

Derrida, Jacques. 2005. Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Figgis, J. Neville. 1896. The Theory of the Divine Right of Kings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Filmer, Sir Robert. 1680. Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings. In Locke, 11–73.

Hill, Christopher. 1993. The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution. London: Penguin/Allen Lane.

Jay, Stephen. 1689. Ta kannakou: The Tragedies of Sin Contemplated in the ruine of the angels, fall of man, destruction of the old world, confusion of Babel, conflagration of Sodom &c: humbly recommended to the present age, for the designed ends of caution and terrour: together with Remarques on the life of the great Abraham. London: Printed by J. Astwood for John Dunton.

Locke, John. 1884 [1690]. Two Treatises on Civil Government, preceded by Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha. Ed. and intro. Henry Morley. London and New York: George Routledge & Sons.

Luban, David. 2005. “Liberalism, Torture and the Ricking Bomb.” Virginia Law Review 91:1425–61.

Moore, Roy. 2005. So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny and the Battle for Religious Freedom. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1987 [1762]. “On Democracy.” Book III, ch. 4 of On the Social Contract. Trans. Donald A. Cress. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.

Runions, Erin. 2005. “Refusal to Mourn: US National Melancholia and Its Prophetic Precursors.” Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds 1.1:9–45.

Singh Mehta, Uday. 1992. “The Critique of Scriptural Politics.” In The Anxiety of Freedom: Imagination and Individuality in Locke’s Political Thought, 37–79. Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press.

Stout, Jeffrey. 2004. Democracy and Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. 1966 [1835]. Democracy in America. Trans. George Lawrence. New York: Harper & Row.

Wallis, Jim. 2005. God’s Politics: Why the American Right gets it Wrong and the Left doesn’t get it. Oxford: Lion.



How to Cite

Sherwood, Y. (2007). Bush’s Bible as a Liberal Bible: (Strange Though that Might Seem). Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 2(1), 47–58. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.v2i1.47