Sunday, September 21, 2008

A syllabus for American religion

I'm always complaining about the Jesus-lite books that are available in church libraries, book stores and public libraries (our UAPL is impoverished for anything Christian after the 1980s unless it's been on the best seller list). But, that's what people want to read--fluff, anecdote and feel-good. Today I was bouncing around the internet looking a stuff on Egeria, a 4th century Spanish nun who had gone on a pilgramage and kept a travel diary. Fascinating stuff. However, the problem with Google, and the OSUL catalog is you get far afield, and somehow I ended up in Wheaton, Il in Kathryn Long's course syllabus for Young Scholars on American religion, History 483, an overview of Christianity in North America from the colonial era to the present. Thinking maybe "young scholars" were junior high and therefore I could read it, I discovered they all have PhDs and the program runs for 3 years. The textbook is Mark Noll, History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (1992) plus course readings that are on sale at the college bookstore or on reserve in the Buswell Library. Whew. Well, it's a place to start.

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