Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

America: Religions and Religion, 5th Edition

  • Catherine L. Albanese
  • ISBN-10: 1133050026
  • ISBN-13: 9781133050025
  • 384 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 1999, 1992
  • COPYRIGHT: 2013 Published
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About the Product

Since its first publication in 1981, AMERICA: RELIGIONS AND RELIGION has become the standard introduction to the study of American religious traditions. Written by one of the foremost scholars in the field of American religions, this textbook has introduced thousands of students to the rich religious diversity that has always been a hallmark of the American religious experience. Beginning with Native American religious traditions and following the course of America's religious history up to the present day, this text gives students the benefit of the author's rigorous scholarship in clear language that has proven to be readily accessible for today's undergraduates. This long-awaited new edition explores a variety of recent events and developments, including increasing religious pluralism and, especially, a combinative postpluralism in which different faiths in America subtly begin to borrow from one another. The new edition examines "postethnic" Judaism in the Jewish Renewal movement and other instances, the growing Womenpriest movement among American Catholics, and the development of Islam in America in the light of September 11, 2001. It surveys the "emerging church" movement among liberal evangelicals and others, and follows the growth of a "new spirituality" that is much broader than the New Age movement.


  • The text treats religious events and phenomena in their social-historical-cultural settings, and moves from examining the outer expression of religions to grasping the inner experience of their practice.

  • With its emphasis on religious diversity and exchange in the American experiment, the text is organized into the following divisions: "Manyness: The Original Cast;" "Manyness: Newmade in America;" "Manyness: Patterns of Expansion and Contraction;" and "Oneness: The Public, the Civil, and the Culture of the Center".

  • Coverage of important current topics includes: the new spirituality; the Christian Right; new ethical orientations regarding bioethics, homosexuality, the environment, and women in religious leadership; and immigration (Muslim and Latino, especially Latino evangelicalism and Pentecostalism).

  • Exploring religion in America as an expression of our pluralistic society--not just those of the Anglo-Saxon and Protestant history-makers--this book includes coverage of an exceptionally wide array of religious traditions, including: Daoism, Confucianism, the Mennonites, the Amish, the Hutterites, the Radical Reformation, Witchcraft, Scientology, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • AMERICA: RELIGIONS AND RELIGION places consistent emphasis on pluralism and postpluralism. Pluralism here stands for religious people living side by side--sometimes in conflict, other times with tolerance and respect, and still other times with cooperation for mutual goals and benefit. Postpluralism here signifies religious combination--the spiritual expression of the human habit of copying from one another, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously.


"The best of its kind; very insightful; at times even brilliant..."
— Yaakov Ariel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Table of Contents

Preface to the First and Second Editions.
Preface to the Third Edition.
Preface to the Fourth Edition.
Introduction An Elephant in the Dark.
Defining Religion.
Religion and Boundaries.
Two Kinds of Religion.
Components of a Religious System.
A Short Description of Religion.
Finding American Religion.
Many Religions and One Religion.
More about Boundaries.
A Short Tour of American Religious History in the Text.
In Overview.
1. Original Manyness: Tradition and Change among Native Americans.
Native American Diversity. Common Characteristics in Religion. Differences in Native American Religious Traditions. The Oglala. The Hopi. Change in Native American Traditions.
In Overview.
2. Israel in a Promised Land: Jewish Religion and Peoplehood.
The Jewish Immigrations. Jewishness and Peoplehood. Judaism as Biblical Religion. Jewish Tradition and the Consecration of Time. The Ceremonial Cycle. The Moral Law. The Moral Law in the United States. American Forms of Judaism. American Judaism and Contemporary Life.
In Overview.
3 Bread and Mortar: The Presence of Roman Catholicism.
Spanish Missions. French Missions. English Colonies. Roman Catholic Religion. The Consecration of Space: Sacramentalism. The Consecration of Time: The Liturgical Cycle.
Paraliturgical Devotions. Ethics and Morality. The American Saga of Catholicism.
Ethnicity. Pluralism and Americanization in Historical Perspective. Pluralism and Americanization: The Later Twentieth Century and On.
In Overview.
4. Word from the Beginning: American Protestant Origins and the Liberal
Tradition. The Religion of the Reformation. The Reformation in England. The Reformation in the English Colonies. Anglican Virginia. Puritan New England. Pluralist New York and Pennsylvania. Colonial Foreshadowing's of Liberalism. Liberalism in the American Revolution. Early Liberal Heyday: From the Revolution to the Civil War. From Gilded Age into Twentieth Century. Protestant Liberalism in Recent Times. In Overview.
5. Restoring an Ancient Future: The Protestant Churches and the Mission Mind.
Mission on the Home Front. Christianizing Relative, Friend, and Neighbor. Institutionalizing the Mission Mind. Christianizing Nearby Strangers. Mission to the World. In Overview.
6. Black Center: African American Religion and Nationhood.
West African Religions. New Land, New Religion. Black Christianity. The Invisible Institution.
The Black Church in Freedom. Black Religion in the Twentieth Century and After. The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement. Combination and Creation in New Religious Movements. The Religion of Blackness. In Overview.
Visions of Paradise Planted: Nineteenth-Century New Religions. Sectarianism and Nineteenth-Century New Religions. The Mormons. The Christian Scientists. The Seventh-day Adventists. The Jehovah's Witnesses. Communalism. The Shakers. The Oneida Perfectionists. Paradise Found and Paradise Lost: An Afterword. In Overview.
8. Homesteads of the Mind: Belief and Practice in Metaphysics.
The Religious Meaning of Metaphysics. Metaphysical Sources in the Western Tradition.
Traditional Practice in the Colonies. Astrology. Witchcraft. The Metaphysical Revival of the Nineteenth Century. Popular Metaphysics in a New Nation. Spiritualism. Theosophy.
New Thought. Mystical and Psychic Frontiers. Later American Metaphysics. In Overview.
9. East Is West: Eastern Peoples and Eastern Religions.
Nearer East: Eastern Orthodoxy. Eastern Orthodox Religion. Orthodoxy in the United States. Middle East: Islam. The Religious Meaning of Islam. Transformations of Islam in the United States. Islam and New Religions: The Example of Baha'i. Farther East: Hinduism.
Religious Themes in Hinduism. Hinduism in the United States. Farther East: Buddhism.
The Religion of Buddhism. Buddhism in the United States. East Is West: Expansion, Contraction, and Combination. In Overview.
10. Fundamentals of the New Age: Present-Time Pluralism and Postpluralism.
Patterns of Contemporary Expansion: The New Age and New Spirituality. Roots of the New Age. The Religion of the New Age. New Spirituality. Patterns of Contemporary Contraction: Conservative Religion Come of Age. Fundamentalist and Evangelical: The Search for Conservative Identity. The Religion of the Fundamentalist-Evangelical Movement.
Expansion and Contraction, Pluralism and Postpluralism. In Overview.
11. The Public, the Civil, and the Culture of the Center.
Public Protestantism. The Protestant Code. The Protestant Cultus. The Protestant Creed.
Civil Religion. Civil Religion in Historical Perspective.
The Structure of the Civil Religion. Civil Religion into the Present. Cultural Religion. The American Ritual Calendar. American Sacred Stories. American Codes of Living. Afterthoughts on Cultural Religion. In Overview.
12. Many Centers Meeting.
Conflicts. The Roman Catholic "Plot". The Jewish "Conspiracy". The Pluralist Struggle.
Coalitions. Combinations.Summing Up the Present.
Suggestions for Further Reading.
Name Index.
Subject Index.
Illustration Credits.

New to this edition

  • New discussion of the "Emergent Church" movement among liberal Protestant evangelicals.
  • New discussion of the role of women in Catholic communities, including those known as "Womenpriests."
  • New exploration of the Jewish Renewal movement and the growth of "post-ethnic" Judaism.
  • Expanded coverage of the development of Islam in America.
  • Expanded coverage of "new spirituality," new age religion, and other alternative religious movements.