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Mark TwainPreacher, Prophet, and Social Philosopher$
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Gary Scott Smith

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192894922

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192894922.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021



(p.1) 1 Introduction
Mark Twain

Gary Scott Smith

Oxford University Press

Twain is one of America’s most popular, renowned, and influential authors. He grappled with major theological concepts and issues and strove incessantly to find meaning in life. Twain extensively analyzed and criticized the biblical God, Christ, the Bible, and Christianity. His constantly changing views of these matters have led scholars to identify Twain as an agnostic, an atheist, a secularist, and a theologically liberal Christian. Twain functioned as a preacher, prophet, and social philosopher. He used his penetrating pen and the lecture platform to proclaim his understanding of the truth, attack a wide variety of social injustices, and present his views on numerous philosophical issues. Twain’s influence on American society extended well beyond providing entertaining, humorous novels, short stories, and essays as he addressed such major questions as is there a God, what is the nature of human beings, what is the purpose of life, and is there an afterlife.

Keywords:   preacher, prophet, social philosopher, God, religious perspective

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