Author: Philip Goff
Date Released: 2004
Page Count: 392
Isbn10 Code: 0807828904
Isbn13 Code: 9780807875827
From Publishers Weekly Most introductions to American religion adopt a chronological approach: they begin with Native Americans, cover European exploration/exploitation, spend disproportionate amounts of time on the First and Second Great Awakenings, entirely ignore the Civil War and then touch on late 19th- and early 20th-century changes to the religious landscape due to immigration, urbanization and theological innovation. In iconoclastic fashion, Goff and Harvey hit upon the brilliant structural concept of organizing the book by 11 broad topics, and then chronologically within each topic, to allow students to see how a theme plays out through generations and across religions. The first four chapters address themes that are common to many religions: theologies, proselytization, supernaturalism and cosmology. Each chapter introduces its theme with the precolonial era and roughly follows the usual historical trajectory to modern times. Other chapters analyze where religion intersects with issues: race, ethnicity, gender, the state, the economy, science and regional diversity. Although some essays are better written than others, the fact that they can stand alone and be read in any order makes them ideal for classroom use or for the general reader. Overall, this primer is a breath of fresh air; it maintains the integrity of the overall story while giving due attention to its various parts. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review "First truly thematic introduction to U.S. religion, and the first to take Native American religions seriously. Highly recommended.(Stephen Prothero, Boston University)"
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