Hispanic American Religious Cultures

by Miguel A. De La Torre, Editor


Hispanic Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, and religion plays a pivotal role in both the preservation of their heritage and their acculturation into U.S. culture. While Catholicism remains the dominant tradition, Hispanic Americans observe a diverse number of religious faiths, including Pentecostalism, Judaism, and Buddhism.

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September 2009


Pages 779
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Race and Ethnicity/Latino and Hispanic Studies
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This encyclopedia is the first comprehensive survey of Hispanic American religiosity, contextualizing the roles of Latino and Latina Americans within U.S. religious culture.

Spanning two volumes, Hispanic American Religious Cultures encompasses the full diversity of faiths and spiritual beliefs practiced among Hispanic Americans. It is the first comprehensive work to provide historic contexts for the many religious identities expressed among Hispanic Americans.

The entries of this encyclopedia cover a range of spiritual affiliations, including Christian religious expressions, world faiths, and indigenous practices. Coverage includes historical development, current practices, and key individuals, while additional essays look at issues across various traditions. By examining the distinctive Hispanic interpretations of religious traditions, Hispanic American Religious Cultures explores the history of Latino and Latina Americans and the impact of living in the United States on their culture.


  • More than 100 entries on specific religious and spiritual traditions among Hispanic Americans, detailing the historic development of their distinctive Latino/a character
  • Dozens of contributing scholars, each an expert in Hispanic religious traditions


  • Covers the full breadth of religious expression among the fastest-growing population in the United States
  • Written by scholars with experience inside the various sacred traditions covered
  • Shows how long-held spiritual beliefs and the experience of living in the United States have shaped distinctive Hispanic American elements in the practice of mainstream faiths
  • Provides scholarly perspectives that challenge standard theological interpretations of religious topics
Author Info

Miguel A. De La Torre, PhD, immigrated to the United States from Cuba with his family in 1959 and grew up as a practitioner of Catholicism and Santería. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he holds a doctorate in social ethics and is associate professor for social ethics at the Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO. He has also served as director of the Society of Christian Ethics and the American Academy of Religion. De La Torre has specialized in applying a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within the United States, Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America, and postmodern/postcolonial social theory. He has written numerous articles and authored more than 16 books, including Reading the Bible from the Margins; Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America; and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins.



"Thoughtfully prepared, carefully indexed, this reference will serve a wide audience of scholars, professionals, and students within the Hispanic American community and the broader community as well." Reference & Research Book News

"Entries cover spiritual affiliations, world faiths, Hispanic practices, history, and key participants, offering an encyclopedia of in-depth articles recommended for Hispanic and spirituality libraries alike."Midwest Book Review

"This is a valuable work for any college or public library with a large Hispanic population."ARBAonline

"The tone of [this] work is suitable for most academic and large public libraries. Highly recommended."Booklist

"This is an indispensable title for academic and public libraries because of its unique focus on religion across the Hispanic American spectrum. Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."Choice

" informative guide to a force of widening influence in the United States. This guide is recommended for academic and public libraries."Lawrence Looks at Books


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