Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture
Is there a center to American religious history? Of course, this question grows out of what David Wills has referred to as “the perennial debate that always seems to hold center stage as the Big Issue in the field ... [that is,] the ongoing quarrel between those who center their stories on the culturally formative role of a dominant Protestantism and those who emphasize the countervailing forces of religious pluralism and toleration.”
As I take the question, Is there some sort of center to American religion – dominant Protestantism or otherwise – that enables us to tell the story of American religion in a coherent and comprehensive historical narrative? Put another way – and I do think that these two questions are linked – Is the best metaphor to explain the history of American religion one that involves a “center?"
Copyright © 2003, Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture.
Cambridge University Press
Trollinger, William Vance, "Is There a Center to American Religious History?" (2002). History Faculty Publications. 15.