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American Religious History

ISBN: 978-0-631-22321-4
352 pages
February 2002, Wiley-Blackwell
American Religious History (0631223215) cover image


In this outstanding historical reader, the editor has gathered nine essays and over thirty primary documents to present a coherent picture of the history of American religion.
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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface.

About the Contributors.


Part I: Historical Essays.

1. Errand Into the Wilderness. (Perry Miller).

2. Exchanging Selves, Exchanging Souls: Contact, Combination, and American Religious History. (Catherine L. Albanese).

3. Shouting Methodists. (Ann Taves).

4. Protestantism as Establishment. (William R. Hutchison).

5. American Fundamentalism: The Ideal of Femininity. (Randall Balmer).

6. Catholicism and American Culture: Strategies for Survival. (Jay P. Dolan).

7. Conservative Judaism. (Gerson D. Cohen).

8. "Introduction," The Faces of Buddhism in America. (Charles S. Prebish).

9. Striving for Muslim Women's Human Rights – Before and Beyond Beijing: An African American Perspective. (Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons).

Part II: Primary Documents.

10. A Model of Christian Charity (1630). (John Winthrop).

11. Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson (1637).

12. A Key into the Language of America (1643). (Roger Williams).

13. Poems (1640–1665). (Anne Bradstreet).

14. The Nature of True Virtue (1765). (Jonathan Edwards).

15. Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779). (Thomas Jefferson).

16. The Code of Handsome Lake (Ca.1800). (Edward Cornplanter).

17. What a Revival of Religion Is (1834). (Charles Grandison Finney).

18. The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee (1836). (Jarena Lee).

19. Nature (1836). (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

20. Poems (1863–1864). (Emily Dickinson).

21. The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny (1865). (Orestes Brownson).

22. Our Country's Place in History (1869). (Isaac M. Wise).

23. Pre-Existence of Our Spirits (1872). (Orson Pratt).

24. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875). (Mary Baker Eddy).

25. A Function of the Social Settlement (1899). (Jane Addams).

26. The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). (William James).

27. The Scofield Reference Bible (1909).

28. Christianity and Liberalism (1923). (J. Gresham Machen).

29. From Union Square to Rome (1939). (Dorothy Day).

30. The Future of the American Jew (1948). (Mordecai M. Kaplan).

31. "Foreword," The Sacred Pipe (1953). (Black Elk).

32. "Sunflower Sutra" (1955) and "Kaddish" (1958). (Allen Ginsberg).

33. Nonviolence and Racial Justice (1957). (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

34. God's Judgment of White America (1963). (Malcolm X).

35. "Preface," The Protestant Establishment (1964): E. Digby Baltzell.

36. Religious Freedom (1966). ( John Courtney Murray).

37. Beyond God the Father (1973). (Mary Daly).

38. Ceremony (1977). (Leslie Marmon Silko).

39. "American Indian Religious Freedom," Public Law 95–341 (1978).

40. Sexism and God-Talk (1983). (Rosemary Radford Ruether).

41. The Voice of Sarah (1990). (Tamar Frankiel).

42. Thoughts Without a Thinker (1995). (Mark Epstein).

43. Active Faith (1996). (Ralph Reed).


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Author Information

Amanda Porterfield is Professor in the Religious Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. She is the author of Feminine Spirituality in America (1980), Female Piety in New England (1992), The Power of Religion (1998), and The Transformation of American Religion (2001).

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Contains nine scholarly essays and over 30 primary documents to give a coherent picture of American religious history.

  • Balanced selections identify major developments and important controversies in history and in historical scholarship.

  • Includes an introductory essay and headnotes placing the authors and events in the context of an overall history of religion in America.
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"Porterfield calls attention to certain continuing touchstones underlying all the enormous variety of patterns and traits in major religious traditions and movements, each shaped by cultural modifiers. This is a 'reader' with an interpretive point, an abundant and lively but directed collection." Rowland A. Sherrill, Indiana University / Purdue University

"This collection of well-chosen primary sources and essays by major scholars illuminates the diversity of the American religious experience in its historical development as well as its contemporary manifestations. It will undoubtedly become a widely-used resource in teaching about American religious history." Peter W. Williams, Miami University

"Porterfield has skillfully constructed this wide-ranging collection of historical essays and documents to demonstrate how the American religious experience has manifested over time both an amazing diversity and an underlying thematic unity." Ava Chamberlain, Wright State University

"I enjoyed reading this book; I found the selections interesting and challenging and I believe students would as well. Porterfield has written her introductions to each section fairly and with integrity. This is a fine reader, with the potential to raise important questions about both religious history and personal belief." H-Net Reviews

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