RELIGIOUS REVOLUTIONARIES: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion

Robert C. Fuller, Author . Palgrave $27.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6361-1

Fuller picks up where his Spiritual, but Not Religious (Oxford 2001) left off in this study of men and women who were "creatively religious" as they encountered the main currents of American religion. Fuller sets his study of these "religious revolutionaries" in the context of their own times, thus providing a helpful and concise overview of American religious history from colonial times to the 21st century. He begins his study with Anne Hutchinson, who preached that God's revelation to individuals could occur mystically and outside of official church meetings and questioned the prevailing Puritan doctrine that external works provided a manifestation of God's grace. Fuller also examines Thomas Jefferson's Deism, Ralph Waldo Emerson's metaphysical spiritualism, Joseph Smith's sectarian visions, Phineas Quimby's mesmerism, Andrew Jackson Davis's spiritualism, William James's psychology of religion, Paul Tillich's existential theology, Mary Daly's radical feminism and James Cone's black theology. Fuller deserves kudos for reintroducing Tillich's notion that faith is the state of being ultimately concerned, an idea that lies at the burgeoning study of popular culture and religion. However, Fuller's study of Cone neglects to emphasize that Cone's theology is more rooted in spirituals and the blues than in the conflict between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Many of the book's figures can hardly be called religious revolutionaries, even in their own times, but rather men and women who pointed to alternative ways of being religious in America. Despite these shortcomings, Fuller offers a useful, though not definitive, guide to the development of American religion. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-250-11029-9
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