This is the first reference work to bring together a collection of essays on heresy trials—moving stories of risks taken in the name of deeply held religious beliefs.
The first of its kind, this volume presents fifty formal and informal trials of individuals and institutions that have been labeled as heretical. These are challenging stories of ministers, professors, and laypersons who literally risked their careers and lives for their understanding of religious truths. From Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson in the colonial period to the latest 1990s casualties in the Southern Baptist Convention, trials from all major periods in American History and from all the major denominations are presented by leading scholars in the study of religious history. Of interest to scholars, students, and the general religious public.
In this moving work, Catholic heretics mingle with Baptists and Mormons, female heretics are hanged and banished, and laypersons are dismissed from membership in their beloved church. Heretical professors lay the groundwork for academic freedom in the 20th century. It is evident from these essays that heretics in the American religious tradition have been among the most creative and voluminous contributors to American society. The trials they suffered were costly, but their contributions were vital. Their legacy informs present religious culture in a myriad of ways.