Marty Muntz and Jared Slyh
Sept. 22, 2003
Byrd, James. The Challenges of Roger Williams: Religious Liberty, Violent Persecution and the Bible. Macon: Mercer U P, 2002. Byrd’s work focuses on Williams’ stand for religious freedom against Puritan radicalism in New England. It is a partial biography.
Chupack, Henry. Roger Williams. New York: Twayne, 1969. Roger Williams aims to find the fundamental basis of Williams' thought and theology. It includes a discussion of his modern relevance and a helpful annotated bibliography.
Easton, Emily. Roger Williams: Prophet and Pioneer. Freeport: Books for Libraries P, 1969. Roger Williams: Prophet and Pioneer is a straightforward biography that focuses more on William’s politics than his theology. It begins with an introduction to the London just before Williams’ birth and follows Williams from boyhood to old age. It looks fairly helpful.
Gaustad, Edwin. Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1991. Liberty of Conscience is a biography of Williams as a man committed to free thought by religious conviction. Exile is a major theme. The introduction to Liberty of Conscience calls the book a “primer on the subject of religious liberty in America.” It appears to be very helpful.
Gaustad, Edwin. Roger Williams: Prophet of Liberty. New York: Oxford U P, 2000. Gaustad’s work admires Williams for his views on religious liberty. It seems fairly reliable in terms of historical accuracy, though not as thorough as other works. It includes a chronology of important dates and events in Williams’ life and in his society. The final chapter is more concerned with the greatness of religious toleration in America than Williams. The book as a whole, however, looks quite good.
Garrett, John. Roger Williams: Witness Beyond Christendom. New York: Macmillan, 1970. The majority of this work focuses on William’s theology, though his politics are discussed near the conclusion. It does not look incredibly helpful but may contain some pertinent information.
Gilpin, W. Clark. The Millenarian Piety of Roger Williams. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1979. The Millenarian Piety of Roger Williams claims that Williams had a sense of being commissioned by God as an “eschatological witness” to “purify Christianity in preparation for its millennial restoration” and that this sense of calling gave him a meaningful framework within which to build his ideas and actions. This work may be useful, but seems a bit strange.
Greene, Theodore, ed. Roger Williams and the Massachusetts Magistrates. Boston: Heath, 1964. Greene has compiled here a collection of primary sources concerning the debate between Williams and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is not a biography but can give a better understanding of Williams’ thought concerning civil power and the individual conscience.
Hall, Timothy. Separating Church and State: Roger Williams and Religious Liberty. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1998. This work is a study of religious freedom and First Amendment rights and Williams’ significant contributions to both. It is not a biography but looks fairly interesting all the same.
Mead, Frank Spencer. The Ten Decisive Battles of Christianity. Freeport: Books for Libraries P, 1970. Chapter 7 of this work is the only section relevant to the study of Williams. Mead’s work is very biased toward Williams and against Puritanism.
Morgan, Edmund Sears. Roger Williams: The Church and the State. New York: Harcourt, 1967. Here Morgan offers a history of Williams’ thought, a reconstruction of his intellectual development. In this work the Church/State relationship is central. It looks to be fairly helpful.
Parrington, Vernon. Main Currents in American Thought. New York: Harcourt, 1930. A complete history of American thought beginning with the Colonials.
Settle, Mary Lee. I, Roger Williams: A Fragment of Autobiography. New York: Norton, 2001. I, Roger Williams is historical novel based upon a portion of Williams’ life. It looks to be a good source for a general and enjoyable (though fictional) entrance into Williams’ personal history.
Straus, Oscar. Roger Williams: The Pioneer of Religious Liberty. Freeport: Books for Libraries P, 1970. This work seems to offer a decent account of the events of Williams’ life leading up to King Philip’s War. The preface describes Williams as an “apostle of the American system of a Free Church in a free state.” It includes no bibliography.
Williams, Roger. The Correspondence of Roger Williams. Hanover/London: Brown U P/ U P of New England, 1988. The Correspondence of Roger Williams is a good collection of primary sources. It includes all of Williams’ surviving letters with explanatory footnotes.