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Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: "How much money will it bring in?" G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a "nation with a soul of a church." At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of economics.

Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199361809
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/12/2015
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 3.10(d)

About the Author

Jan Stievermann is Professor of the History of Christianity in the U.S. at Heidelberg University.

Philip Goff is Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Indiana University Indianapolis.

Detlef Junker is Professor of History Emeritus at Heidelberg University, and Founding Director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Anthony Santoro is Lecturer in American religious history at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Daniel Silliman is Lecturer in American religious history at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Table of Contents

General Introduction - Jan Stievermann, Daniel Silliman, and Philip Goff

PART ONE: Reassessment
1. Why Are Americans So Religious? The Limitations of Market Explanations - E. Brooks Holifield

PART TWO: Evangelicals and Markets
2. Weber and Eighteenth-Century Religious Developments in America - Mark Valeri
3. Billy Graham, Christian Manliness, and the Shaping of the Evangelical Subculture - Grant Wacker
4. Money Matters and Family Matters: James Dobson and Focus on the Family on the Traditional Family and Capitalist America - Hilde Løvdal

PART THREE: Religious Book Markets
5. The Commodification of William James: The Book Business and the Rise of Liberal Spirituality in the Twentieth-Century United States - Matthew Hedstrom
6. Literature and the Economy of the Sacred - Günter Leypoldt
7. Publishers and Profit Motives: The Economic History of Left Behind - Daniel Silliman

PART FOUR: Religious Resistance and Adaptation to the Market
8. Selling Infinite Selves: Youth Culture and Contemporary Festivals - Sarah Pike
9. Religious Branding and the Quest to Meet Consumer Needs: Joel Osteen's "Message of Hope" - Katja Rakow
10. Unsilent Partners: Sports Stadiums and their Appropriation and Use of Sacred Space - Anthony Santoro

PART FIVE: Critical Reflection and Prospect
11. Considering the Neoliberal in American Religion - Kathryn Lofton


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