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God in Gotham? Really?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2021

Jon Butler*
Howard R. Lamar Professor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies at Yale University


The generous, warm-hearted comments about God in Gotham from Wallace Best, Deborah Dash Moore, and Thomas Tweed, plus John McGreevy's introduction, do, indeed, please its author. I am relieved that no one said I should have remained a colonialist or that the book merely replicates what others have said. But the writing of history never ends, and their comments open fascinating avenues for deeper explorations of religion in the seemingly inhospitable atmosphere of modern urban life. If God in Gotham is succeeded by multiple new books and articles that turn its arguments and conclusions in different and even opposite directions, hallelujah! History moves on. Our books are just markers along the way.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of American Society of Church History

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56 I did not know Sylvester's, Harry Moon Gaffney (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1947)Google Scholar until Philip Jenkins cited it in his review of God in Gotham, “When Religion Thrived in New York,” Christian Century, Nov. 18, 2020.

57 James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902), 31CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

58 Smith, Jonathan Z., “Religion, Religions, Religious,” in Critical Terms for Religious Studies, ed. Taylor, Mark C. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 269284Google Scholar, quotation on 281.