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A MAINLINE MOMENT: THE AMERICAN PROTESTANT ESTABLISHMENT REVISITED

  • DAVID SEHAT (a1)
Abstract

William R. Hutchison had a complaint. Though he was a dean of American religious history and a gatekeeper of the field at Harvard, Hutchison could not shake the feeling that the discipline was going in the wrong direction. In 1989, when he wrote an introduction to his edited volume, Between the Times, his fellow religion scholars were busy examining trans-denominational movements like revivalism, smaller religious practices like voodoo in New York, and “dissenters and other outsiders” to the mainstream. But their efforts had ignored what Hutchison considered the most important subject of all, the Protestant denominations that had guided American life since the American Revolution.

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1 Hutchison William R., ed., Between the Times: The Travail of the Protestant Establishment in America, 1900–1960 (New York, 1989), viii.

2 Schultz Kevin M., Tri-faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise (New York, 2011), 10.

3 Hutchison, Between the Times, ix.

4 Ibid., ix–xv.

5 Marsden George M., Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870–1925 (New York, 1980); Noll Mark A., Hatch Nathan O., and Marsden George M., The Search for Christian America (Westchester, IL, 1983); Carpenter Joel A. and Shipps Kenneth W., eds., Making Higher Education Christian: The History and Mission of Evangelical Colleges in America (Grand Rapids, MI, 1987); Carpenter Joel A., Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism (New York, 1997); Stout Harry S., The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (New York, 1986); Hatch Nathan O., The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven, 1989).

6 Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture, 229; Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (New York, 1997); Hutchison William R., Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal (New Haven, 2003).

7 Tweed Thomas A., ed., Retelling U.S. Religious History (Berkeley, 1997), 12.

8 Schmidt Leigh Eric and Promey Sally M., eds., American Religious Liberalism (Bloomington, 2012); Schmidt Leigh Eric, Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality—From Emerson to Oprah (San Francisco, 2005); Fessenden Tracy, Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature (Princeton, NJ, 2007); Hedstrom Matthew, The Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century (New York, 2013); Brekus Catherine A. and Gilpin W. Clark, eds., American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity (Chapel Hill, 2011).

9 Schultz, Tri-faith America; Preston Andrew, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (New York, 2012); Herzog Jonathan P., The Spiritual–Industrial Complex: America's Religious Battle against Communism in the Early Cold War (New York, 2011); Sehat David, The Myth of American Religious Freedom (New York, 2011).

10 Coffman Elesha J., The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline (New York, 2013), 6.

11 Hollinger David A., After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History (Princeton, 2013), 57; Coffman, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, 57.

12 Coffman, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, 12–32, 52, 59, 201.

13 Hollinger, After Cloven Tongues of Fire, 82 (first quotation), 84 (fourth quotation), 85 (second quotation), 87 (third quotation).

14 Ibid., 119 (first quotation), 131 (second quotation).

15 Edwards Mark Thomas, The Right of the Protestant Left: God's Totalitarianism (New York, 2012), 68.

16 Coffman, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, 114–16.

17 Ibid., 117–21.

18 Hollinger, After Cloven Tongues of Fire, 211–23, 214.

19 Edwards, The Right of the Protestant Left, 4 (fourth quotation), 51 (first quotation), 105 (second and third quotations).

20 Coffman, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, 145–81.

21 Ibid., 182–205, 213–16, quotation at 186.

22 Schultz, Tri-faith America; Coffman, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, 216 (first quotation), 223 (second and third quotations).

23 Hollinger, After Cloven Tongues of Fire, 21 (first and second quotations), 27 (third quotation).

24 Ibid., 45.

25 Hollinger David A., Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Intellectual History (Princton, NJ, 1996).

26 Hollinger, After Cloven Tongues of Fire, 192.

27 Ibid., 199 (second and third quotations), 208 (first quotation).

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Modern Intellectual History
  • ISSN: 1479-2443
  • EISSN: 1479-2451
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-intellectual-history
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