Reimaging Denominationalism: Interpretive Essays

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Denominationalism-that free market mode of organizing religious life which, some say, manages to combine traditional religious claims with a free society in a peculiarly American way-is the subject of the previously unpublished papers in this collection. No institution, the editors argue, is as crucial for the understanding of American religious life, yet so much in need of reassessment as the denomination. In a wide-ranging collection of articles, a distinguished set of commentators on American religion examine the denomination's past and present roles, its definable nature, and its evolution over time. The study of denominations, the authors suggest sheds light on broader understandings of American religious and cultural life. The contributors-scholars of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, and African-American traditions-explore the state and history of denominational studies in America, suggesting new models and approaches drawn from anthropology, sociology, theology, history, and history of religions. They offer provocative case studies that reimagine denominational studies.