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Robert Lewis Dabney

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James Henley Thornwell, R. L. Dabney, and the Shaping of Southern Theology

From the 2004 Abbeville Institute Summer School It's a privilege for me to be here. I've enjoyed the sessions very much so far. In fact, after the sessions yesterday I had to go and rewrite my conclusion just from things that I learned, especially about locality, localism, and patrimony. Just fascinating. Today I want to talk about James Henley Thornwell,…
Samuel C. Smith
November 2, 2022
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Suffering, Providence, and Robert Lewis Dabney

In his 1903 book, The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, Thomas Cary Johnson wrote of his friend, colleague, and spiritual brother, “Dr. Dabney was a great man. We cannot tell just how great yet. One cannot see how great Mt. Blanc is while standing at its foot. One hundred years from now men will be able to see…
Miles Foltermann
January 27, 2022
Review Posts

Our Comfort in Dying

A review of Our Comfort in Dying (Sola Fide Publications, 2021), R. L. Dabney and Jonathan W. Peters, ed. Dabney “was fearless and faithful in the discharge of every duty. . . . was a Chaplain worth having.”  --Col. Robert E. Withers, Commander, 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment, 1861 In the current American dystopia, the life and ministry of an Old…
Forrest L. Marion
August 24, 2021
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Who’s Your People?

“Who's your people?” Though now somewhat rare, one still hears that question in Dixie, usually uttered from the lips of older or rural Southerners. Much is implied by the question. There is the implicit belief that one’s extended family — or clan, given much of the region’s Scotch-Irish roots — serves as an inextricable part of one’s identity. Also implied…
Casey Chalk
July 26, 2021
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Equality is NOT America’s Founding Principle

Our “conservative” punditry go forth daily in what seems increasingly to be an already lost battle against the agenda of the left and its progressivist minions in and outside the Biden administration. That agenda enjoys overwhelming support in hysterically “woke” academia and counts on unwavering backing from cheerleaders and mouthpieces in the establishment media, entertainment, and the sports industry. Increasingly,…
Boyd Cathey
April 19, 2021
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The New South

Edited by Robert Hoyle. A Discourse delivered at the Annual Commencement of Hampden-Sydney College, June 15, 1882, before the Philanthropic and Union Literary Societies. Young Gentlemen of the Philanthropic and Union Societies, and Ladies and Gentlemen of the Audience: You will credit my expression of sincere embarrassment at this time when you consider that I am attempting a species of…
Robert Lewis Dabney
November 25, 2020
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Industrial Combinations

From The Land We Love, V, no. I (May 1868), 25-34, edited by Joseph S. Stromberg. Combinations for the prosecution of industrial pursuits are the characteristic of our age. They now enjoy almost universal favor, and are extending themselves, in old and new directions, every year. In the delight which is inspired by their efficiency for money-getting, people seem unsuspicious…
Robert Lewis Dabney
September 25, 2020
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How Secession and War Divided American Presbyterianism

Presbyterianism has a rich legacy in American history. The Presbyterian church was founded in Scotland by John Knox (d. 1572), a disciple of John Calvin. Along with the Dutch Reformed and New England Puritans, the Presbyterians brought Reformed theology to the New World. Scottish and Irish immigrants introduced Presbyterianism to the American colonies in the 18th century, and the first…
Zachary Garris
May 12, 2020
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The Revolt Against Christian Civilization: The Southern View

Southerners, of all Americans, have been the most acute and the most persistent in their analyses of what has ailed and threatened our culture, certainly since the end of the War for Southern Independence. Only consider a Robert Lewis Dabney or an Albert Bledsoe in the years immediately after that conflict. Then, more recently, recall the Southern Agrarians centered in…
Boyd Cathey
September 9, 2019
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Dabney’s Warning for the New South

Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) defended the South both during and after the War Between the States. During the war, this professor of theology left his work at Union Theological Seminary to serve as chaplain for the Confederacy in 1861 and then as chief of staff to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in 1862. After the war, Dabney made it one of…
Zachary Garris
July 12, 2019
Review Posts

Dabney on Fire

A review of Dabney on Fire: A Theology of Parenting, Education, Feminism, and Government (2019) by Zachary Garris, ed. During his lifetime, Southern theologian and writer Robert Lewis Dabney was most notably known for his 1866 biography of General “Stonewall” Jackson (The Life and Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. Thomas J. Jackson) and for his post-war apologia for the Southern cause, A…
Boyd Cathey
June 25, 2019
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Was Dabney a Prophet?

The writings of Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) often read like prophecy. After the War Between the States, Dabney wrote essays on a variety of cultural and political issues, both in defense of the South and as an assault on progressivism. Along the way, he made predictions regarding the secularization of public schools, the future of feminism, and the decline of…
Zachary Garris
June 19, 2019
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Critical Race Theory and the Verdict of R.L. Dabney

Back last year an OpEd piece showed up in The News & Observer by one Professor John Biewen, who is Audio Program Director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. In his essay Biewen explained: “White supremacy today is not mainly about the guys with Tiki torches. It’s about power, and systemic patterns of…
Boyd Cathey
April 15, 2019
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The Antebellum South in the Reformation Tradition

On October 31, while many parents whisk their little ones from house to house in the pursuit of temporal tasty treats, a large portion of Christendom will be observing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a movement which arguably changed the very course of Western Civilization up through the present. Many Protestant denominations, seminaries, churches, and para-church organizations are…
Jonathan Harris
October 30, 2017
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Robert Lewis Dabney: A Prophet for Our Own Times

A number of years ago I became interested in the writings of the great Southern author and philosopher Robert Lewis Dabney (d. 1898). Dabney, if he is much known at all these days, is famous because he was chaplain to Confederate general, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and because he penned a Life of General Thomas J. Jackson (1866) and then for…
Boyd Cathey
July 26, 2017
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Robert Lewis Dabney and the New South Creed

Only a few prominent Southerners actively questioned the call for the rapid industrialization of the South or pointed to the broader implications involved in such a policy after the Confederacy's defeat in 1865. Of those who rejected what came to be called "the New South Creed," Robert Lewis Dabney stands out as the most significant and the most deserving of…
Boyd Cathey
July 14, 2017
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The Timely Wisdom of Robert Lewis Dabney

Many of the destructive ideas and “isms” of our century in America had their roots in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a number of Southern writers and clergymen recognized their nature and warned against them. Among these men was Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) of Virginia, one of the South’s great Presbyterian thinkers.  He was the author of a number…
Karen Stokes
March 13, 2017
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Sayings By or For Southerners, Part XXIV

Totalitarianism, defined as the existential rule of Gnostic activists, is the end form of progressive civilization.--Eric Voegelin The South is the foe to Northern industry---to our mines, our manufactures, and our commerce.--Abolitionist Theodore Parker, 1861 Consolidators, supremacists, and conquerors, however, will all equally disregard any instrument, however solemn and explicit, by which ambition and avarice will be restrained and the…
Clyde Wilson
January 13, 2016
Review Posts

The Real Old Time Religion

People in the South who are intuitively attuned to its culture and history suspect that what passes for popular, evangelical religion in the region is not precisely what it has been in the past. Besides the fact that the South, like other parts of the country, is slowly giving in to the forces of secularism, those states from Maryland to…
A. J. Conyers
October 20, 2014
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Radical America

"The very axioms of American politics now are, that "all men are by nature equal," that all are inalienably "entitled to liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and that "the only just foundation of government is in the consent of the governed.'' There was a sense in which our fathers propounded these statements; but it is not the one in…
Robert Lewis Dabney
July 30, 2014