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Religion in American History

A Reader

Edited by Jon Butler and Harry S. Stout

Publication Date - 11 September 1997

ISBN: 9780195097764

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

In Stock


At the end of the twentieth century, religion seems to be ubiquitous in America. Its existence and influence are especially apparent in our politics, but its presence is most deeply felt in our personal lives and experience. Was it always this way?
Offering a rich selection of classic and recent scholarship, Religion in American History: A Reader presents an extraordinary portrait of religion's fate across four centuries of the American experience. Its essays cover major issues in American history and religion, detailing religion's purpose in American life and examining many topics that are either ignored or minimized in similar books. It addresses the decline and revival of American Indian religion; women's powerful roles in American religion; immigration, assimilation, and separation and how they have contributed to the American religious experience; political activism; and religious bigotry. It also discusses Catholics, Protestants and fundamentalism, Mormons, and Jews. Selected debates encourage readers to test conflicting interpretations about religion's impact on American history, and original documents trace religion's influence on slavery, race, and politics from the colonial era to the late twentieth century.
Divided into three sections - colonial era, nineteenth century, and twentieth century - and featuring essays by prominent American historians, this volume serves as an excellent text for courses in American Religion, the History of Religion, and Religion and Culture. It is enhanced by helpful introductions to each essay and ample suggestions for further reading. Uniquely comprehensive, Religion in American History: A Reader serves as a one-volume tour through America's tumultuous, varied, and often misunderstood religious past.

About the Author(s)

Jon Butler is William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History and Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People (1990), The Huguenots in America: A Refugee People in New World Society (1990), Power, Authority, and the Origins of American Denominational Order: The English Churches in the Delaware Valley, 1680-1730 (1978), and numerous articles and essays.
Harry S. Stout is Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity at Yale University and the John B. Madden Master of Berkeley College. He is the general editor of OUP's Religion and America Series and co-editor of New Directions in American Religious History (OUP, 1997). He is author of The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (OUP, 1986), and co-editor of Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience (OUP, 1988), and Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and the Representation of American Culture (OUP, 1993).

Table of Contents

    Part I: The Colonial Period
    1. The Spiritual Crisis of European Colonization -- Calvin Martin, "The European Impact on the Culture of a Northeastern Algonquian Tribe: An Ecological Interpretation"
    2. Did the Puritans Start it All? -- Perry Miller, "Errand Into the Wilderness"
    3. William Penn and the English Origins of American Religious Pluralism -- Edmund S. Morgan, "The World and William Penn"
    4. Document: Christianity Shapes American Slavery -- Thomas Bacon, " A Sermon to Maryland Slaves, 1749"
    5. Debate: "The Great Awakening" - Fact or Fiction? -- Harry S. Stout, "Religion, Communications, and the Ideological Origins of the American Revolution", and Jon Butler, "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction"
    6. The Challenge of a Woman's Religion -- Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, "The Spiritual Pilgrimage of Sarah Osborn (1714-1796)"
    Part II: The Nineteenth Century
    7. Immigrants and Religion in America -- Jay P. Dolan, "The Immigrants and Their Gods: A New Perspective in American Religious History"
    8. Female Language in the American Religious Experience -- Barbara Welter, "The Feminization of American Religion"
    9. The Rise of an American Originial: Mormonism -- Gordon S. Wood, "Evangelical America and Early Mormonism"
    10. What Religious Pluralism Meant -- R. Laurence Moore, "Insiders and Outsiders in American Historical Narrative and American History"
    11. Documents and Debate: On Whose Side? God, Slavery and the Civil War -- Frederick Douglass, "Address on 'Evangelical Flogging'", and George D. Armstrong, "The Christian Doctrine of Slavery: God's Work in God's Way
    12. The Occult in the American Religious Tradition -- Mary Farrell Bednarowski, "Women in Occult America"
    13. Indians, Missions, and Cultural Conflict -- Raymond J. DeMallie, "The Lakota Ghost Dance: An Ethnohistorical Account"
    14. Religion and Politics -- Robert P. Swierenga, "Ethnoreligious Political Behavior in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: Voting, Values, Cultures"
    15. The Creation of an African-American Preaching Style -- William E. Montgomery, "The Preachers"
    16. The Rise of American Fundamentalism -- George M. Mardsen "Fundamentalism as an American Phenomenon: A Comparison with English Evangelicalism"
    Part III: The Twentieth Century
    17. Religion and Sociology -- Bryan Wilson, "Secularization: The Inherited Model"
    18. Commercial Culture and American Christianity -- Leigh Eric Schmidt, "The Easter Parade: Piety, Fashion, and Display"
    19. Debate: 1920-1940: Dark Ages of American Protestantism? -- Robert T. Handy, "The American Religious Depression, 1925-35", and Joel A. Carpenter, "Fundamentalist Institutions and the Rise of Evangelical Protestantism, 1929-1942"
    20. Judaism and the American Experience -- Jonathon D. Sarna, "Seating and the American Synagogue"
    21. The Unspeakable Relationship: Religion and Bigotry in America -- Leonard Dinnerstein, "Antisemitism in the Depression Era (1933-1939)"
    22. Catholicism, Gender, and Modern Miracles -- Robert A. Orsi, "'He Keeps Me Going': Women's Devotion to Saint Jude Thaddeus and the Dialectics of Gender in American Catholicism, 1929-1965"
    23. Martin Luther King and the Secular Power of Religious Rhetoric -- Hortense J. Spillers, "Martin Luther King and the Style of Black Sermon"
    24. Debate and Documents: Religion, Society, and Politics in Modern Times -- Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. "Jesus the Liberator", U.S. Catholic Bishops, "A Pastoral Message: Economic Justice for All and Jerry Falwell, "The Imperative of Moral Involvement"

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