Nathan Rives

Dr. Nathan S. Rives
Instructor of History

Office: Lindquist Hall 255
Phone: 801-626-7463



Research & Teaching Areas

▪ American Religious History
▪ Early American Republic
▪ New England
▪ Religion, Politics, and Civic Life


▪ Ph.D., Brandeis University (2011)
▪ B.A., Brigham Young University (2001)


▪ HIST 1700  American Civilization
▪ HIST 2700  History of the United States to 1877
▪ HIST 2710  History of the United States since 1877
▪ HIST 3110  American Ideas and Culture
▪ HIST 3250  Religion in American History
▪ HIST 4010  Colonial America
▪ HIST 4020  American Revolution
▪ HIST 4030  The New Nation, 1800-1840
▪ HIST 4040  Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction, 1840-1877
▪ HIST 4985  Historical Research and Methods
▪ HIST 4990  Senior Seminar


Dr. Nathan S. Rives specializes in American religious history, with particular interests in the period of the early American republic. His completed book manuscript is titled “Subject to the Law of God: Religious Controversy and Civic Life in New England, 1776-1850.” In New England, a region where tax-supported religion persisted into the early 1830s, religion expanded its political presence in the public sphere in new ways. His book shows how questions of religious liberty were shaped by public debates about the moral implications of religious truth and error.
He has recently begun a project that examines networks of bible societies that formed across the Atlantic world in the early 19th century, and stood at the intersection of emerging networks of modern religious thought, transportation, and finance. His project situates bible societies, often thought to be a quintessentially American development, instead within a transatlantic web centered on London. He plans to extend his research to Britain and continental Europe, especially Germany.

He has presented his research at regional and national conferences, including the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), and the American Society of Church History (ASCH).

Dr. Rives joined the history department at Weber State University as an adjunct instructor in 2011 and became a full-time instructor in 2018.


Books (in Progress)

▪ Subject to the Law of God: Religious Controversy and Civic Life in New England, 1776-1850.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

▪ “‘Is Not This a Paradox?’ Public Morality and the Unitarian Defense of State-Supported Religion in Massachusetts, 1806-1833,” New England Quarterly 86, no. 2 (June 2013).

Book Reviews

▪ Review of Kenneth A. Briggs, The Invisible Bestseller: Searching for the Bible in America (Eerdmans, 2016), Christianity and Literature 68, no. 3 (June 2019).

▪ Review of Kyle B. Roberts, Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 (University of Chicago Press, 2016), Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 87, no. 1 (March 2018).

▪ Review of Paul D. Hanson, A Political History of the Bible in America (Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), Church History and Religious Culture 96, no. 3 (Fall 2016).

▪ Review of T. J. Tomlin, A Divinity for All Persuasions: Almanacs and Early American Religious Life (Oxford University Press, 2014), The Journal of Religion 96, no. 2 (April 2016).

▪ Review of Shelby Balik, Rally the Scattered Believers: Northern New England’s Religious Geography (Indiana University Press, 2014), Journal of the Early Republic 35, no. 3 (Fall 2015).

▪ Review of James S. Kabala, Church-State Relations in the Early American Republic, 1787-1846 (Pickering & Chatto, 2013), Ohio Valley History 13, no. 3 (Fall 2013).

▪ Review of J. Rixey Ruffin, A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic (Oxford University Press, 2008), Journal of the Early Republic 31, no. 3 (Fall 2011).

Reference Works

▪ Co-author with Raymond S. Wright III, Mirjam J. Kirkham, Saskia Schier Bunting, Ancestors in German Archives: A Guide to Family History Sources (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004).