American Religion: A review Article of the Series Religion in American Life -- By: Luke L. Keefer Jr.

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 35:0 (NA 2003)
Article: American Religion: A review Article of the Series Religion in American Life
Author: Luke L. Keefer Jr.


American Religion:
A review Article of the Series Religion in American Life

Luke L. Keefer Jr.

Luke L. Keefer (Ph.D. Temple University) is Professor of Church History and Theology and holder of the Charles and Anna Frey Brethren in Christ Chair at ATS.

Edwin S. Gaustad, Church and State in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 157 pages.

Hasia R. Diner, Jesus in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 158 pages.

Albert J. Raboteau, African-American Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 142 pages.

Claudia Lauper Bushman and Richard Lyman Bushman, Mormons in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 142 pages.

The four books are part of a 17 volume set on Religion in American Life edited by Yale University religious historians Jon Butler and Harry S. Stout. All these books are surveys of various strands of American religious history from 1500 to the present. The editors share the conviction that it is impossible to understand American society, its politics and its culture, without understanding the central role religion—in all its diversity—has played in the development of the United States (see preface in each volume).

Three books in this series have previously been reviewed in the Ashland Theological Journal. In the 2001 journal Dr. Dale Stoffer reviewed Jon Butler’s Religion in Colonial America (pp. 143–144) and Stephan J. Stein’s Alternative American Religions (pp. 155–156). The following year Dr. JoAnn Watson reviewed Ann Braude’s Women and American Religion (pp. 153–154). The series includes two more period histories: Religion in Nineteenth Century America by Grant Wacker and Religion in Twentieth Century America by Randall Balmer. Volumes on particular religious groups include: Gurinder Singh Mann, Paul David Numrich and Raymond B. William’s Buddhists, Hindus and

Sikhs in America; James T. Fisher’s Catholics in America; Fredrick Denny’s Muslims in America; John H. Erickson’s Orthodox Christians in America; Mark Noll’s Protestants in America; and Joel W. Martin’s Native American Religion. Rounding out the set are Immigration and American Religion by Jenna Weissman Joselit and A Biographical Supplement and Series Index prepared by Darryl Hart and Ann Henderson Hart.

All the books are superbly written and edited. The content, through uniformly kept to about 150 pages, is excellent in academic import, clearly organized according to chronological periods, insightful in rai...

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