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Christian History

Today in Christian History

March 20

March 20, 687: Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne and a vocal supporter of Celtic practices over Roman ones, dies. Shortly thereafter the Lindisfarne monks created the Lindisfarne Gospels in his honor (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).

March 20, 1747: Severely ill with tuberculosis, Presbyterian missionary David Brainerd ends his work among the Native Americans of Delaware (see issue 77: Jonathan Edwards).

March 20, 1852: Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of famous Congregational minister Lyman Beecher, publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin (which had been serialized in an antislavery newspaper). The book sold one million copies and was so influential in arousing antislavery sentiment that Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said upon meeting Stowe in 1863: "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!" (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

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July 12, 1536: Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch scholar and the first editor of the Greek New Testament, dies in Basel. One of the leading scholars who influenced the Protestant Reformation, he also wrote the influential In Praise of Folly. "Most holy was his living," said one observer, "most holy his dying" (see issue 34: Luther's Early Years).

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