Review Of "American Christianities: A History Of Dominance And Diversity" Edited By C. A. Brekus And W. C. Gilpin

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This collection of 22 essays by established scholars provides an excellent summary of recent research on Christianity's various roles in American history. The book stresses the dominance that Christianity has exercised on American society and culture from Colonial days until the present--sometimes in spite of, but equally often because of, its fragmented nature and the disagreements among adherents. A theme is that no one tradition or denomination should claim to exemplify Christianity in the US. The essays, averaging around 30 pages, focus on different groups (African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans), practices (theology, material culture, the Bible, worship, evangelism), culture (economics, science, mass media), and the nation (church/state, social reform, war and peace, women). Most articles (exceptions are those on captivity narratives and homosexuality) use selected incidents to illustrate broad themes occurring over long periods. Extensive footnotes refer readers to secondary sources, but no manuscripts are cited. Many of the essays will be most helpful for those with a background in American religious history. College and seminary teachers could profitably use these essays to supplement a textbook or collection of documents. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers.


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