Religion in American Life A Short History Updated Edition

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-31
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Perhaps surprising in a country without a national church, religion has played a powerful role in American life. Now, in the new paperback edition of Religion in American Life, three of the country's most eminent historians of religion offer a superb overview that spans four centuries, illuminating the rich spiritual heritage central to nearly every event in our nation's history. Jon Butler begins by describing the state of religious affairs in both the Old and New Worlds on the eve of colonization. He traces the progress of religion in the colonies through the time of the American Revolution, covering all the religious groups, Protestants, Jews, and Catholics, as well as the unique religious experiences of Native Americans and African Americans. Grant Wacker continues the story with a fascinating look at the ever-shifting religious landscape of 19th-century America. He focuses on the rapid growth of evangelical Protestants--Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and others--and their competition for dominance over religions such as Catholicism and Judaism, which continued to increase with large immigrant arrivals from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and other countries. The 20th century saw massive cultural changes. Randall Balmer discusses the effects industrialization, modernization, and secularization had on new and established religions. He examines Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, New Age believers, Mormons, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, and many more, providing a clear look into the kaleidoscope of religious belief in modern-day America. Religion in American Life is an engrossing look at how religion has changed--and in turn been changed by--the extraordinary events throughout American history.

Author Biography

Jon Butler is Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Yale University. He is the author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People, Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776, and, with Harry S. Stout, editor of Religion in American History: A Reader.
Grant Wacker is Professor of Church History at Duke University Divinity School. He is the author of Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture, Religion in Nineteenth Century America (OUP, 2000), and Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism.
Randall Balmer is Professor of American Religious History at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Visiting Professor of American Religion at Yale University Divinity School. He is the author of ten books, including Protestantism in America and Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America (2006). His book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, now in its fourth edition, was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Religion in Colonial America
Worlds Old and Newp. 1
Religion and Missions in New Spain and New Francep. 21
Religion in England's First Coloniesp. 47
The Flowering of Religious Diversityp. 71
African and American Indian Religionp. 91
Reviving Colonial Religionp. 110
Religion and the American Revolutionp. 132
Religion in Nineteenth-Century America
Prophets for a New Nationp. 155
Awakeners of the Heartp. 171
Reformers and Visionariesp. 185
Restorers of Ancient Waysp. 200
Sojourners at Homep. 212
Warriors for God and Religionp. 231
Fashioners of Immigrant Faithsp. 246
Innovators in a World of New Ideasp. 261
Conservers of Traditionp. 273
Adventurers of the Spiritp. 291
Religion in Twentieth-Century America
A New Centuryp. 309
The Age of Militancyp. 323
In God We Trustp. 340
Religion in the New Frontierp. 360
Religion in an Age of Upheavalp. 379
Preachers, Politicians, and Prodigalsp. 395
Religion for the New Millenniump. 409
Epiloguep. 430
Chronologyp. 433
Further Readingp. 437
Indexp. 464
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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