The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States
[2 volumes]
by James C. Carper, Thomas C. Hunt, Editors
March 2009, 624pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99227-9
$180, £139, 157€, A247
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08455-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Carper and Hunt cover the historical and current issues relating to religion and American K-12 schools.

Ten Commandments displays, prayer at football games, Bible in the curriculum, vouchers for tuition at religious schools, Pledge of Allegiance, wall of separation between church and state, among other hot button issues at the intersection of religion and education, generate a great deal of heat, but often light is sorely lacking. The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States provides a unique source of light to educators, religious leaders, journalists, policy-makers, parents, and the general public as well as a useful resource for scholars interested in the impact of religion on the origins, development, and current shape of the American educational landscape.

Following an introductory essay that surveys the relationship of religion to elementary and secondary education from the 1600s to the present, this set offers 175 entries written by more than 40 scholars with national reputations that cover a wide range of topics related to religion and education, both in the past and the present. These jargon-free entries are cross-referenced and provide suggestions for further reading. Readers who want to know what is behind the heat in current debates will find entries on: United States Supreme Court decisions on religion and education, current controversies regarding religion in the public schools, religious, legal, and educational associations involved in these controversies, religion and the curriculum, religious schools, individuals and movements that have affected the role of religion in education, and religion and education developments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This one of a kind set also includes a convenient table summarizing all of the religious liberty decisions of the Supreme Court from 1815 to the present.


"The issues and events are described and presented in historical, political, and social contexts. Written by over 40 contributors with backgrounds in religious studies, law, education, public policy, history, and sociology, the entries range in length from several paragraphs to several pages, and most include recommendations for further reading. They are written in clear, straightforward language that will make them accessible to nonexperts with an interest in the topic. BOTTOM LINE: Little or no bias is apparent in the entries, a remarkable quality in a work on religion and politics. This handbook would be a useful addition to public, school, and academic libraries, particularly those with undergraduate programs in education."—Library Journal, June 1, 2009

"The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States serves as an invaluable tool for a variety of reasons: (1) it serves as a scholarly and accurate resource written by seasoned experts who have dedicated much of their lives to the study of religion and education in America; (2) each entry is cross-referenced and provides suggestions of resources for further study. (Readers interested in delving deeper into the study of religion and education have a plethora of resources at their disposal, all contained within this particular text.) and; (3) while written by scholars, the language used is free of intellectual stuffiness and is written in a forthright, understandable fashion. This particular feature makes this publication comprehensible to all types of audiences. Those seeking to understand or teach the history, foundations, and philosophy of religion and education will be hard-pressed to find a more valuable resource tool. Because of its practicality and wide span of historical and contemporary topics, The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States is a must-have for all libraries."—Journal of Religious & Theological Information, September 10, 2010

"Editors Carper and Hunt, two important, prolific scholars of religion and education in the US, offer a substantive, historically orienting essay, 175 topical entries, and a grid-formatted, user-friendly appendix of the US Supreme Court's religious liberty decisions. . . . This book will be an indispensable addition to academic and public libraries supporting faculty and graduate students in education and law; practitioners will find it helpful. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and above."—Choice, August 1, 2009

"Carper and Hunt have presented a clear, fair and admirable picture of both education and religion as they were entwined in Colonial times and how they have changed and developed into the systems we enjoy today. Every educator will savor the style and the information presented in these two thoroughly documented volumes. The appendix covering the Supreme Court cases on religious liberty is invaluable."—Catholic Library World, December 1, 2009

"The experts in this book really are experts, and their work sheds light on the increasingly intense debates in this country concerning religion-education and church-state issues. The contributors include a cross section of established scholars and fresh faces, and represent a nice blend of representatives from higher education, experienced school administrators and learned lawyers from the various major faith traditions in the United States today. The inclusion of a convenient table summarizing all of the religious freedom decisions of the Supreme Court from 1815 to the present is icing on the cake."—Robert D. Linder
University Distinguished Professor of History, Kansas State University

"The nexus between religion and education continues to be a source of tension in schools. Carper and Hunt proffer a handbook that will significantly help educational professionals understand the dynamic relationship between religion and education and assist non-professionals, such as parents, appreciate the forces that have shaped current practices relative to the role of religion in American educational thought and practice."—Thomas J Lasley,II
Dean, School of Education and Allied Professions, University of Dayton

"Clashes in the courts and elsewhere over the separation of church and state are, more often than not, about the separation of religion and education. This handbook is a reliable guide to the legal and public policy arguments, pointing the way to a more constructive engagement of religion and education in American life."—The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus
Editor in Chief, First Things

"The Praeger Handbook of Religion and Education in the United States is a valuable resource for both laymen and scholars attempting to navigate the murky yet important intersection of religion and education. This handbook provides the rare combination of both accessible and comprehensive guidance on critical topics ranging from past Supreme Court decisions to current controversy over religious expression in the public school system."—James Davison Hunter
Labrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory
University of Virginia
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