This collection of essays and interviews from Historically Speaking address several subjects central to religious history in the Unites States. The first section maps the state of American religious history as a field of study and includes interviews with award-winning senior religious studies scholars Robert Orsi and Stephen Prothero. Subsequent sections explore the challenges of assimilation faced by Jews and Catholics in the United States, the origins and historical significance of American evangelical Christianity, and the phenomenon of millennialism in America. The volume concludes with a discussion of religious experience as an indicator of the limits of historical understanding, and of the tension that exists between the two modes of knowing.
Edited by Randall J. Stephens, Recent Themes in American Religious History will appeal to students, scholars, and general readers of American history, American studies, and religious studies. The contributors are Kathleen Garces-Foley, Nicholas Guyatt, Thomas S. Kidd, Thomas Kselman, Bruce Kuklick, George Marsden, Wilfred M. McClay, John McGreevy, Robert A. Orsi, James M. O’Toole, Stephen Prothero, Leo P. Ribuffo, Jonathan D. Sarna, Christopher Shannon, Jane Shaw, Stephen J. Stein, and John G. Turner.
Members of any Young Scholars in American Religion class will appreciate the book's dedication to the 2007-09 class of Young Scholars.
A highlight of the book for me is the conversation about Robert A. Orsi's well-known piece "Abundant History: Marian Apparitions as Alternative Modernity," with responses by Thomas Kselman and Jane Shaw.