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About the Book

Beyond the Book

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 1 table, bibl., index

Themes in Religion and American Culture

Designed to serve as an introduction to American religion, this volume is distinctive in its approach: instead of following a traditional narrative, the book is arranged thematically. Eleven chapters by top scholars present, in carefully organized and accessible fashion, topics and perspectives fundamental to the understanding of religion in America. Some of the chapters treat aspects of faith typical to most religious groups, such as theology, proselytization, supernaturalism, and cosmology. Others deal with race, ethnicity, gender, the state, economy, science, diversity, and regionalism--facets of American culture that often interact with religion.

Each topical essay is structured chronologically, divided into sections on pre-colonial, colonial, revolutionary and early republican, antebellum, postbellum and late nineteenth-century, early twentieth-century, and modern America. One can study the extended history of a certain theme, or read "across" the book for a study of all the themes during a specific period in history. This book's new approach offers a rich analysis of the genuine complexity of American religious life. With a helpful glossary of basic religious terms, movements, people, and groups, this book will become an essential tool for students and teachers of religion.


Yvonne Chireau, Swarthmore College

Amy DeRogatis, Michigan State University

William Durbin, Washington Theological Union

Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University

James German, State University of New York, Potsdam

Philip Goff, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Sue Marasco, Vanderbilt University

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, University of Chicago Divinity School

Roberto TreviƱo, University of Texas, Arlington

David Weaver-Zercher, Messiah College

About the Author

Philip Goff is director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and associate professor of religious studies and American studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. He writes about American religion in the Enlightenment era and the history of religious radio. Paul Harvey is professor of history at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and author of Redeeming the South: Religious Cultures and Racial Identities among Southern Baptists, 1865-1925.

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