In this fully revised and enhanced edition of his Religion in the New World (Fortress Press, 1990), Wentz extends and deepens his successful account of the shaping of America's diverse religious traditions. Using religious studies categories, such as myth, legend, symbol, and ritual, Wentz sketches the development and flowering of all the traditions—Native American, Reformed, Puritan, Roman Catholic, Restorationist—that proved decisive for American religion. The book extensively treats indigenous American figures and movements, including women, Native Americans, and Mormons, as well as Asian, African, and Islamic traditions. It also includes more material on Transcendentalism and Unitarian Universalism, public religion, and contemporary American Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims.
For Americans in search of their religious identity, Wentz's work invites them to explore anew America's vast religious landscape.
—Walter H. Capps, University of California
Wentz commands his subject, and he is a sympathetic and judicious observer. . . All in all, [the book] is a splendid achievement and a pleasure to read. It deserves the attention of undergraduates and general readers.
Written in a lively, readable style. . . it is apparent that the book was forged in the classroom of an accomplished teacher of undergraduates. . . It persists in introducing the meaning of religion through exploration of diverse religious traditions. The book merits wide reception and use.
—Anglican Theological Review
Any thoughtful reader will learn a great deal about most of the religious traditions that have thrived within the American experience. . . The book is well written, carefully organized, learned, and it will take its place as an important contribution to the literature of the field.
Richard E. Wentz is Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Department of Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Among his many books are The Culture of Religious Pluralism (1998), John Williamson Nevin: American Theologian (1997), and Why People Do Bad Things in the Name of Religion (1993).