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Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States

5 Volumes

Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark A. Lamport - Foreword by Martin E. Marty

From the founding fathers through the present, Christianity has exercised powerful influence in the United States—from its role in shaping politics and social institutions to its hand in inspiring art and culture. The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States outlines the myriad roles Christianity has played and continues to play. This masterful five-volume reference work includes biographies of major figures in the Christian church in the United States, influential religious documents and Supreme Court decisions, and information on theology and theologians, denominations, faith-based organizations, immigration, art—from decorative arts and film to music and literature—evangelism and crusades, the significant role of women, racial issues, civil religion, and more.

The first volume opens with introductory essays that provide snapshots of Christianity in the U.S. from pre-colonial times to the present, as well as a statistical profile and a timeline of key dates and events. Entries are organized from A to Z. The final volume closes with essays exploring impressions of Christianity in the United States from other faiths and other parts of the world, as well as a select yet comprehensive bibliography. Appendices help readers locate entries by thematic section and author, and a comprehensive index further aids navigation.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 2864Size: 9 3/4 x 12
978-1-4422-4431-3 • Hardback • 5 vol set • November 2016 • $495.00 • (£330.00)
978-1-4422-4432-0 • eBook • November 2016 • $470.00 • (£310.00)
George Thomas Kurian (1931–2015) was president of the Encyclopedia Society and the editor of sixty-five books, including numerous encyclopedias and dictionaries. He was also a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. He was the editor, among others, of The World Christian Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, and Encyclopedia of Christian Literature.

Mark A. Lamport is a professor at graduate schools in the United States and Europe. He is co-editor of Encyclopedia of Christian Education, and editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation and Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South.
Foreword by Martin E. Marty

Contextual Snapshots of Christianity in the United States

  • A Snapshot of Pre-Colonial and Colonial Christianity
  • A Snapshot of Nineteenth Century Christianity in the US
  • A Snapshot of Twentieth Century Christianity in the US
  • A Snapshot of the Future of Christianity in the US
Statistical Profile of Christianity in the United States (2015)

Timeline: Milestones in the History of Christianity of the United States

Volume 1: A-E
Volume 2: F-J
Volume 3: K-N
Volume 4: O-R
Volume 5: S-Z

Perspectives of Christianity in the United States

  • An Asian Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • An Atheist Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • An Australian Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • A European Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • A Jewish Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • A Middle Eastern Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • A Post-Modern Impression of Christianity in the United States
  • A South American Impression of Christianity in the United States
Selected Bibliography (Listed by Thematic Section)

A: Christianity in the Context of All Religions in the United States of America
B: Entries Listed by Thematic Sections
C: Entries Listed by Author
Kurian and Lamport have produced a well-written, comprehensive guide detailing the many themes and people in the history of Christianity in the United States. Their aim is 'to facilitate greater reflection on our national and personal circumstances in light of our historical awareness; to hospitably engage ideas, cultures, and practices of faith tradition beyond the normal scope of our direct experiences; and to recall the gracious, sovereign mission of God in his Church in the United States.' These five volumes of fascinating entries by numerous scholars succeed in inviting readers to browse through and actively participate in that reflection, engagement, and recollection. The entries are organized alphabetically, but indexing by themes, names, and even the author of the articles makes finding and tracing specific threads of history easy. Brief bibliographical references are included for each item as well as an overarching selected bibliography and essay in the final volume. Among the other useful features are an introductory series of essays surveying the overall history of Christianity and its impact on the United States, an appendix detailing U.S. religious trends, and a series of concise essays giving perspectives on the subject from other cultural viewpoints such as Asian, Australian, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Jewish, and even atheist. The vast cultural and religious variety within the United States is well represented here. VERDICT A superb set that will appeal to both researchers and general readers interested in religion or history. Suitable for both academic and public libraries.
Library Journal, Starred Review

A marvelous new five-volume reference work...containing contributions from nearly 500 scholars, provides us with an 'Abbey to Zwemer' resource on people, denominations, and movements. This 2800-page publication...will serve ministers and students well for a decade or more.
Christianity Today

Although many faith traditions have been stirred into the melting pot that is America, Christianity has always predominated, and its history in this country is complicated, rich in diversity, and consists of manifold expressions of a single faith. This new encyclopedia set seeks to tell these many stories. Some 1,800 of the entries are biographical and include well-known figures. Historical descriptions of the staggering number of Christian denominations, ranging from the Assyrian Church of the East to the United Church of Christ, are provided, along with articles on ministries such as Catholic Relief Services and the Gideons. The nexus of Christianity and the arts is explored in entries such as Christian rock and Jesus inAmerican movies. Discussion of theological movements, biblical interpretations, important legal cases, and much more content complete the set…. [T]heological collections and academic libraries should consider acquiring it due to the scope and timeliness.

Relishing these richly informative pages, I was reminded of Oscar Handlin’s notable claim that immigrants were America. The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States does not suggest that Christians are America, but it demonstrates in impressive detail just how wide-ranging Christianity’s influence on America has been.
Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University

Encyclopedias are among the great tools of modern knowledge-making, all the more so when forged by hands as experienced as those of Kurian and Lamport. As a reference guide to Christianity’s variegated history and ongoing expression in the United States, these volumes stand out for their breadth of coverage and range of perspectives. Capsule biographies, denominational overviews, thematic analyses—all these and more can be found in this compendious collection.
Leigh E. Schmidt, Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States will be a most valuable resource for anyone who wants to find reliable information on the history or current state of Christianity in this country. It is up to date and intelligently organized. It reflects the insights of an impressive board of editors.
George Marsden, professor emeritus, University of Notre Dame

This encyclopedia is a highly useful, comprehensively imagined resource for students, teachers, and the general public who want to learn about the future of Christianity by better understanding its past in American history. The five-volume work is rooted in twenty-first-century realizations and concerns about Christianity—its size and demographic patterns, its influence and role in society, its multiple forms and stunning internal differences—as it retrieves the past and smartly represents key historical themes and forces throughout U.S. history. Christianity is changing dramatically right before our very eyes, and inventive, comprehensive resources like this one will provide enlightening historical and cultural insights that bear on the present. I found myself immediately drawn to this encyclopedia for two compelling reasons: First, diversity is conceptually fundamental to the content, evident in the outstanding line-up of editorial advisory board members and in the range of topics found in the table of contents; and second, creativity is driving the organizational logic and global reach of the project, with snapshots, impressions, profiles, and so on that keep the reading lively and grounded.
Gary Laderman, chair and Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Cultures, Emory University

This multi-volume set creatively explores the diversity and depth of Christian expression in the United States. With entries written by a broadly trained and accomplished group of scholars, it moves well beyond traditional understandings of what is Christian, or even what is traditionally “religious.” Best of all, it uses fresh angles of vision to shed new light on both historical developments and current events, including views of Christianity from outside the nation and abundant charts and images. This is a gold mine of an encyclopedia that will keep the reader exploring and discovering for a long time to come.
Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University in St. Louis

Includes up-to-date information on nearly every facet of Christianity in the United States

Organized by an excellent, diverse editorial advisory board comprised of two dozen world-class scholars

Wide-ranging topics, from biographies to performing arts

Twenty sidebars highlight distinctive features of denominations and faith traditions

Features more than one hundred black & white images of key figures and events

Includes a statistical snapshot and timeline of key events

Entries organized alphabetically, with appendices and a comprehensive index to help readers locate entries by theme or author