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Modern American Religion, Volume 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919 [Paperback]

By Martin E. Marty (Author)
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Item description for Modern American Religion, Volume 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919 by Martin E. Marty...

Martin E. Marty argues that religion in twentieth-century America was essentially shaped by its encounter with modernity. In this first volume, he records and explores the diverse ways in which American religion embraced, rejected, or cautiously accepted the modern world.
"Marty writes with the highest standards of scholarship and with his customary stylistic grace. No series of books is likely to tell us as much about the religious condition of our own time as "Modern American Religion."--Robert L. Spaeth, "Minneapolis Star Tribune"
"The wealth of material and depth of insight are beyond reproach. This book will clearly stand as an important meteorological guide to the storm front of modernity as it swept Americans into the twentieth century."--Belden C. Lane, "Review of Religions"
"Whatever one thinks about Marty's theological or philosophical position as a historian, the charm of his friendly circumspective approach to American religious history is irresistible."--John E. Wilson, "Theological Studies"
"Marty attempts to impose historical order on the divergent ways a century of Americans have themselves tried to find order in their worlds. . . . He] meets the challenge deftly. . . . It is a book relevant to our time. . . . Engages the heart and mind jointly."--Andy Solomon, "Houston Post"

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University Of Chicago Press
Pages   393
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.05" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 21, 1997
Publisher   University Of Chicago Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0226508943  
ISBN13  9780226508948  

Availability  0 units.

More About Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty Martin Emil Marty (b. February 5, 1928, West Point, Nebraska) is an American Lutheran religious scholar who has written extensively on American religion. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1956, and served as a Lutheran pastor from 1952 to 1962 in the suburbs of Chicago. From 1963 to 1998 he taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School and latterly held an endowed chair (the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professorship). Marty's doctoral advisees at the University of Chicago included such religious scholars as James R. Lewis, Jeffrey Kaplan, Jonathan M. Butler, and Vincent Harding, as well as Shimer College president Susan Henking.

Marty served as president of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the American Catholic Historical Association. He was the founding president and later the George B. Caldwell Scholar-in-Residence at the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethics. He has served on two U. S. Presidential Commissions and was director of both the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago (sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts). He has served St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota since 1988 as Regent, Board Chair, Interim President in late 2000, and now as Senior Regent.

Marty retired after his seventieth birthday and now holds emeritus status at the University of Chicago; he additionally served as Robert W. Woodruff Visiting Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University 2003–2004. Widower of Elsa and married now to Harriet, he has seven children (including two who joined the family as foster children), among whom are Minnesota State Senator John Marty and Rev. Peter Marty, who is currently the host of the ELCA radio ministry Grace Matters.

Martin E. Marty currently resides in the state of Illinois. Martin E. Marty was born in 1928 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Professor Univ. of Chicago Divinity School in Illinois Emeritus, Univ..

Martin E. Marty has published or released items in the following series...
  1. American Circumstance
  2. Exploring Christian Faith
  3. Modern American Religion

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Modern American Religion, Volume 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919?

An Outstanding Study of Modern American Religion  Apr 14, 2004
The dust jacket of the original hardcover edition of this book has a photograph of Martin E. Marty, one of the deans of American religious history, grinning like the Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He has reason to grin, for this book was the impressive first fruits of a projected four-volume chronicle of American religion in the twentieth century. It offers a unique interpretation of the nation's religious history. Marty contends that religion in twentieth century America has been shaped, essentially, by its contact with the modern world and all that this contact implies.

In this volume Marty explores the diverse ways in which American religion and religious leaders embraced, rejected, or cautiously accepted what he called "modernity." Some, the anti-modernists, self-consciously preserved older ways against the onslaught of new ideas such as Darwinism, socialism, and a host of other "isms" which were viewed as contrary to the "truth of the gospel." Others, such as the progressives of the early twentieth century, embraced the modern world and sought to make it their own through such vehicles as the social gospel. A few reached an uneasy alliance with modern America, seeking to channel what they considered the best the new society offered into areas they believed would be most advantageous to their followers and the larger religious community. Within this larger framework, Marty narrates a story that begins with the World's Parliament of Religions at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and ends at the conclusion of World War I, as the nation returned to "normalcy." The author figuratively follows the participants in the World 's Parliament of Religions in their various spiritual arenas, recording the story of individuals and movements which shaped and directed American religion in the early part of this century.

At the heart of his study, as it should be with all historical inquiry, are the people themselves. Marty sees much to appreciate in all of the reactions to modernity by various leaders: the progressivism of "modernists" like William Rainey Harper; the unique mixture of religion and secularity found in the lives and thoughts of Henry Adams, George Santayana, and John Dewey; the transforming spirit of ethnicity in religion among Indian, African American, and other minority groups; and the anti-modern conceptions of such revivalists as Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday. Whether they embraced the modern world or not, whether they attempted to pass beyond the modern world to a more basic religious stance unaffected by it or not, Marty perceives each of these individuals and each of the groups as representative of the fascinating kaleidoscope of the nation's religious makeup. Although religious groups are diverse, each offers an essential ingredient to the whole, thereby making our spiritual lives a little richer.

Marty argues that a healthy irony marked these decades in American religious history. He notes that however strenuously the individuals or groups may have struggled with modernity--or embraced it--the outcomes of their efforts were often quite different from what had been intended. In spite of the wide chasms between intentions and results, Marty believes that these people and movements decisively shaped the religious and secular world that followed which we too often take for granted.

While this is an important first attempt to synthesize the religious history of the period--and indeed the whole twentieth century--it suffers from common errors which infect all historical writing. In a lengthy section on the Latter-day Saints of Utah (pp. 301-305), for example, Marty contends that the Mormon Church accommodated itself to modern America about the I time of Utah's entry into the Union in 1896. Clearly this is an oversimplification, as Thomas G. Alexander's "Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930" (University of Illinois Press, 1986) points out. But this and other overstatements, misreading of documents, and oversimplifications are minor irritations.

Marty's book is an important work which offers an interesting and challenging, if not always convincing, assessment of American religion during the formative years of this century. Its value, however, may be more in offering a useful technique for understanding the period than for being comprehensive in chronicling the history of religious movements. It is lively and sometimes humorous. It can be read profitably and appreciated by all--as a useful contribution to the study of twentieth century religious development.


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