Baylor History Professor Earns Top Recognition for Book on Benjamin Franklin

December 6, 2017
kidd book

?Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father,? which was named one of the 2017 Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books by Booklist Online.

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 6, 2017) – Thomas S. Kidd, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University, has been recognized for his book, “Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father,” which was named one of the 2017 Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books by Booklist Online.

“I was delighted to receive this recognition from the American Library Association,” said Kidd, associate director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. “Hopefully, it suggests that ‘Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father’ is written in a way that will appeal not just to academic specialists, but to a broader audience interested in religion’s role in the American founding.”

In his book, published by the Yale University Press, Kidd discusses the life of Benjamin Franklin and his role in the publishing of more religious works than any other 18th-century American layperson. The book explores the deist writers who influenced Franklin’s beliefs and the many Christians in his life who tethered Franklin to the Calvinist creed of his Puritan upbringing.

During the composition of this biography, Kidd researched many of Franklin’s voluminous correspondence, essays and almanacs.

The focus of Kidd’s research is 18th-century North America, particularly the history of evangelicalism. He has published 12 books, writes for the Evangelical History blog at “The Gospel Coalition” and also regularly contributes to WORLD Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

Booklist Online offers more than 180,000 book reviews from the experts at the American Library Association. It is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews for librarians and readers alike.

by Brooke Battersby, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


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Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. For more information, visit