Being Religious, American Style

A History of Popular Religiosity in the United States

by Charles H. Lippy


Approaches the study of popular religion by asking how ordinary people have gone about the process of being religious in America.

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September 1994


Pages 296
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/General
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Popular religion rarely expresses itself in the artifacts of high culture. In this book, Lippy approaches the study of popular religion by asking how ordinary people have gone about the process of being religious in America. Along the way, he examines popular religious periodicals, newspapers, novels, diaries, devotional materials, hymnals, promotional materials for revivals and camp meetings, religious tracts, as well as vernacular art and architecture, other artifacts, and, especially in the 20th century, radio, film, and television. He avoids the traditional focus on religious movements and institutions, choosing instead to illuminate the cultural impact of what people in America think and do when they are being religious by highlighting aspects of private life.

Table of Contents

What Is Popular Religion?
Popular Religiosity in Early Colonial America
Popular Religiosity in the Age of Awakening and Revolution
The Flourishing of Popular Religiosity in Antebellum America
Challenge and Change in Traditional Religion: Nurturing Popular Religiosity in the Later Nineteenth Century
Popular Culture and Popular Movements: Advancing Popular Religiosity in the Later Nineteenth Century
Into the Twentieth Century: Popular Religiosity in the Age of World Wars
After the War: Popular Religiosity and Cultural Currents in the Later Twentieth Century
Toward the Twenty-First Century: The Interplay of Popular Culture and Popular Religiosity
Select Bibliography



Organized in chronological periods, this book is encyclopedic in scope. Lippy's work adds significantly to the recent scholarship on popular religion in America. All libraries with holdings in American religion and history should have this volume.— Choice

Rather than revisiting American religious history through its established movements and institutions, as it is typically explored, Lippy delves into the ways ordinary people have gone about being religious...A highly readable, scholarly work of value to academic and large general collections.—Library Journal

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