American Religous Experience

New Directions in American Religious History Harry S. Stout and D. G. Hart, eds., (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Pp. ix, 502. cloth $50.00, paper $22.95)


The collection of essays in this work detail what Harry S. Stout and Robert M. Taylor have

"Each of the authors displays a strong knowledge of his/her field and the sum of the contributions is truly impressive."

described as "a minihistoriographical revolution" in the writing of American religious history. Over the last twenty years or so, the writing of American religious history has moved away from an intellectual history of the mainline Protestant denominations to a diverse array of scholarship about the role of religion in American history. Two factors have been especially influential for this development. The first is the appearance of the so-called "new social history," which has emphasized the application of sociology theory to the study of ordinary Americans. The second factor has been an increasing awareness of denominations outside of mainline Protestants, in groups that include Catholics, African-Americans, Pentecostals, and others.

Coming together at the Wingspread conference in Racine, Wisconsin in October 1993, some of the best scholars in American religious and social history presented their analysis of the trends in American religious history. The result is the seventeen highly informative essays appearing in this book. Each essay covers a particular aspect of American religious history to describe the current state of scholarship, and thoughts for future work. Each of the authors displays a strong knowledge of his/her field and the sum of the contributions is truly impressive.

Both the experienced scholar and the novice in American religious history will find this work to be an invaluable source of information and insights.

Leo Hirrel, Catholic University of America



homeReturn to the American Religious Experience Main Page