We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

American Religions

A Documentary History

Edited by R. Marie Griffith

Publication Date - 30 January 2007

ISBN: 9780195170450

672 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Featuring a creative dual structure--the readings are arranged both chronologically and thematically--this indispensable sourcebook can be used in both historically and topically organized courses.


Religion has played a complex, vibrant, and multifaceted role in our nation's history. One of the most effective ways to help students explore its vitality is through primary sources. American Religions: A Documentary History is the only one-volume, up-to-date collection of primary sources available for American religious history courses. Featuring a creative dual structure--the readings are arranged both chronologically and thematically--this indispensable sourcebook can be used in both historically and topically organized courses.
Balancing canonical works with those by newly discovered voices, American Religions: A Documentary History includes seventy-five classic and contemporary selections from the colonial period through the present day. It offers readings by a uniquely wide range of religiously, socially, and ethnically diverse writers: theological conservatives and liberals, northerners and southerners, women and men, and African Americans and Mexican Americans alongside Anglo-Americans. The selections are long enough to stimulate serious discussion yet concise enough for students to digest easily. The volume is organized into six sections that cover different chronological periods, each of which contains writings on five themes: theological reflections, ritual and performance, spiritual autobiography, interreligious conflict and negotiation, and more expansive conceptualizations of religion. Enhanced by brief biographies of the authors, a general introduction, and section introductions, the text also includes two sample syllabi--one oriented toward a historical approach and the other toward a thematic approach. Ideal for introductory courses in religion in America and American religious history--taught both in religious studies and history departments--American Religions: A Documentary History offers students a broad yet in-depth and engaging gateway into the subject.

Table of Contents

    Preface for Instructors
    1. Affirming Divine Providence: Explorers, Missionaries, and Colonizers Come to America
    The Bull Sublimis Deus (1537)
    William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1620-47)
    John Cotton, Spirituall Milk for Boston Babes in Either England (1656)
    2. Piety and Practice in the Colonial Era
    John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity (1630)
    Increase Mather, Sleeping at Sermons Is a Great and a Dangerous Evil (1682)
    3. Anxious Souls: Seeking Assurance in Puritan New England
    Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear Children (1867) and To My Dear and Loving Husband (1678)
    Samuel Sewall, Diary (1677-1727)
    4. Conflict and Violence, Gender and Ethnicity: Antinomianism and Indians
    The Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson (1637)
    Mary Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682)
    William Penn, Letter to the Indians (1681)
    5. Challenges to the Established Order: Baptists, Quakers, and Witch-Hunting
    Roger Williams, Letter to the Town of Providence on the Limits of Religious Liberty (1654-55)
    William Penn, A Persuasive to Moderation to Church Dissenters, in Prudence and Conscience (1686)
    Cotton Mather, From Wonders of the Invisible World (1692)
    6. Debating Decorum and Religious Experience: Revivalism and the Great Awakening
    Jonathan Edwards, From Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New-England (1743)
    Charles Chauncy, From Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New-England (1743)
    7. Beyond New England: Southern Anglicanism, Methodist Perfection
    Charles Woodmason, I Cor. 14 v. 40 Let All Things Be Done Decently & in Order (1770)
    John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (1777)
    8. Piety, Christian Love, and Resistance to Slavery
    Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America (1773), On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield (1770), and Thoughts on the Works of Providence (1773)
    John Woolman, From The Journal of John Woolman and On Silent Worship
    9. Bringing Outsiders In: More Encounters with Indians, Early American Jews
    David Brainerd, From Journal (1745)
    The Petition of the Philadelphia Synagogue to Council of Censors of Pennsylvania (1783)
    10. Enlightenment Views of Religious Tolerance and Liberty
    Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
    James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785)
    Hannah Adams, From An Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects Which Have Appeared in the World from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Present Day (1784)
    11. New Theologies Absorb Old Orthodoxies: Mormonism, Transcendentalism, Communitarianism
    Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith (1842) and Revelation (1835)
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harvard Divinity School Address (1838)
    12. Diverse Modes of Religious Conversion
    Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, Letters (1805)
    Charles Grandison Finney, From Memoirs (1876)
    Bishop Innocent Veniaminov, Instructions to the Priest-Monk Theophan (1853)
    13. Slave Religion and African American Resistance
    Jarena Lee, From The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee (1836)
    Frederick Douglass, From Narrative of the Life of an American Slave (1845)
    14. Evangelicalism, Abolitionism, and Pro-Slavery Christianity
    Angelina Emily Grimké, Appeal to the Christian Women of the South (1836)
    Catharine E. Beecher, Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism (1837)
    George D. Armstrong, From The Christian Doctrine of Slavery (1857)
    15. Europeans Attempt to Define Religion in America
    Alexis de Tocqueville, From Democracy in America (1835)
    Phillip Schaff, From America (1855)
    16. Darwinism, the Social Gospel, and the Gospel of Wealth
    James Woodrow, Evolution (1884)
    Russell Herman Conwell, From Acres of Diamonds (1890)
    Walter Rauschenbusch, From A Theology for the Social Gospel (1917)
    17. Reshaping Aged Creed: Reform Judaism, New Thought, Black Protest
    Pittsburgh Platform (1885)
    Ralph Waldo Trine, From In Tune with the Infinite (1897)
    W. E. B. Du Bois, The Sorrow Songs (1903), Credo (1904), and A Litany of Atlanta (1906)
    18. Narratives of Americanization and Resistance
    Black Elk, From Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1932)
    Mary Antin, The Promised Land (1912)
    19. Conflicts of Immigration and Immigrants
    Josiah Strong, From Our Country (1886)
    Alexis Toth, Meeting with Archbishop John Ireland (1889)
    Mabel Potter Daggett, The Heathen Invasion of America (1912)
    20. Turning Outward: The Early Comparative Study of Religion
    James Freeman Clarke, The Ten Religions and Christianity (1891)
    Swami Vivekananda, Hinduism as a Religion and Farewell (1893)
    William James, From The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
    21. Fundamentalism, Liberalism, and Neo-orthodoxy
    Harry Emerson Fosdick, Shall the Fundamentalists Win? (1922)
    Reinhold Niebuhr, From The Irony of American History (1952)
    22. Jewish Observance and Catholic Sacramentalism
    Abraham Joshua Heschel, From God in Search of Man (1955)
    Thomas Merton, From New Seeds of Contemplation (1961)
    23. Alienation, Dissidence, and Rebellion Against Traditional Authorities
    Dorothy Day, From The Long Loneliness (1952)
    Jack Kerouac, From Dharma Bums (1958)
    24. Black Encounters with World Religions and the Struggle Against Racism
    Howard Thurman, What We May Learn from India (1936) and Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman Meet with Mahatma Gandhi (1936)
    Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail (1963)
    Malcolm X, Letters from Abroad (1964)
    25. The "American Way of Life" and Its Critics
    Will Herberg, From Protestant-Catholic-Jew (1955)
    26. The 1960s and Beyond: Theological Responses to Social and Political Crises
    Mary Daly, From Beyond God the Father (1973)
    Cornel West, Christian Theological Mediocrity (1984)
    Stanley Hauerwas, Gay Friendship: A Thought Experiment in Catholic Moral Theology (1998)
    27. Ritual, Practice, and Spiritual Poetry in a Pluralistic Society
    Avery Dulles, S.J., The Ways We Worship (1998)
    Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, From Seeking the Heart of Wisdom (1987)
    Joy Harjo, Eagle Poem (1990)
    Lucille Clifton, spring song (1987), the light that came to lucille clifton (1980), and testament (1980)
    28. Religious Outings: Multiple Spiritual Personalities in a Post-Sixties America
    Mel White, From Stranger at the Gate (1994)
    29. Religion and Conflict after 9/11
    Franklin Graham, From The Name (2002)
    Letter to Franklin Graham from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (2002)
    Richard Rodriguez, Danger and Grace--Sept. 11 and America's Religious Moment
    30. Privatization, Secularization, and Religious Flourishing: The Enduring Challenges of Religious Expression in America
    Robert N. Bellah, From Habits of the Heart (1985)
    U.S. Department of Education, Religious Expression in Public Schools (1995)
    Jeffrey L. Stout, Democracy and Tradition (2004)

Related Titles