Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $30.00
  • Save: $8.36 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Down in the Chapel: Relig... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison Hardcover – August 13, 2013


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$21.64
$2.48 $1.02

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$21.64 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison + Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine
Price for both: $40.01

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. University of Rochester religion professor Dubler (Bang! Thud: World Spirit from a Texas School Book Depository) takes readers where every American should go at least once—to prison. The highly religious United States also has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Examining chapel life at Pennsylvania's maximum-security prison at Graterford, readers follow two prison guards, five chaplains, 15 prisoner-workers, 20 volunteers, one secular professor of religion, and hundreds of religious followers of Sunni Islam, Salafi Islam, Judaism, Nation of Islam, Moorish Science Temple, Evangelicals, Catholics, Christian Science, Native American Church, and more. His postmodern frame keeps Dubler, as the interpreter, always in plain view, while profitably weaving in Graterford's social location (an era that prioritizes punishment, not rehabilitation), and historical context (Pennsylvania's early experiments in reforming prisoners through religious instruction and solitary confinement). In this important book, Dubler reveals an essential American conversation that is complex, nuanced, highly intellectual, woefully uninformed, often humorous, and deeply theological among men held in violent, repressive circumstances. This book aptly proves Dostoyevsky's claim that one can judge a society's civilization by entering its prisons. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (Aug.)

From Booklist

Heavenly Father, thank you for . . . comforting the guys that are in the hole. In the prayers of a convicted killer, Dubler finds signs of a remarkably vibrant spiritual life behind prison bars. During a week spent at Pennsylvania’s Graterford Prison, Dubler learns how robbers, drug dealers, rapists, and murderers worship and serve God. Readers see how the distinctive beliefs of Jewish, Islamic, Evangelical, and Catholic convicts animate enclaves of prison faith, enclaves always open to new converts but zealously watchful of their dogmatic boundaries. Within these enclaves, readers encounter men who profess an often rough-edged piety. They also confront the difficulties chaplains face in trying to soften the prison’s institutionalized callousness by ministering to these men. Scholars will appreciate Dubler’s intellectual sophistication, evident in his insightful references to the theology of ­Kierkegaard and Tillich, and to the philosophy of Hegel and Nietzsche. But a broader circle of readers will respond to the compelling immediacy of Dubler’s narrative, rich with humanizing detail. An eye-opening inquiry into a surprising religious world. --Bryce Christensen
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374120706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374120702
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joshua Dubler is an assistant professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. He lives in Rochester, NY.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joshua M on August 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in America, the prison-industrial complex, religion, ethnography, or philosophy, this book is a must read. This is to say that there is something for everyone in Down in the Chapel. Dubler's chronicle of 7 days in the lives of prisoners in the chapel of Graterford Prison is a dynamic look at the way that individuals conceive of themselves religiously in the modern day.

Mixing incisive critical thoughts on the American obsession with incarceration, penetrating comments about what makes us believe and draws us to religion, and deeply humanizing portrayals of prisoners, Dubler has written a must-read book. There is so much to pore over and explore-- it's the type of book you want to keep permanently on your desk so as to have it for easy reference for its nuggets of wisdom, moments of pathos and hilarity, and its absorbing writing-- you might want to buy 8 copies of it for your closest friends.

One can only rejoice in the possibility of future publications by Dubler. This book is a must-read.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ken Wright on December 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely essential, as well as a very compelling read, for anyone who
wants to know what really goes on inside a prison, especially from a religious, mission
oriented point of view.
The ability of Joshua Dubler to gain the trust of the prisoners to the point that they would
actually confide in him their truths, which is unheard of in a prision, is outstanding and a tribute
to Joshua's dedication to his purpose and faith. No simple, naive "do gooder" is Joshua: He knows
his stuff and holds his own with all the postulations of the prisoners he encountered over his year inside.
Anyone considering a mission effort to a prison should read this first to get a first hand, realistic
view of what he/she is getting into.
Ken Wright, North Palm Beach, Florida
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Alex from Montreal on February 28, 2015
Format: Paperback
Interesting topic, but the writing is not the smoothest, and I expected more intense prison events/stories.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
Adapting his Princeton dissertation, a professor of religion at the University of Rochester, Joshua Dubler, guides readers through a prison week in early 2006. He uses a week's chronology to intersperse summaries from ethnography and sociology on prison religion, mingling these with a year of sacred and profane discussions among those who gravitate towards one prison chapel, which can be a bleak or comforting "cellular edifice". Combining scholarly distance with first-hand reports as a participant-observer, he introduces us to 15 chapel workers chosen from a general population of 3,500, their five chaplains, and a pair of officers enlisted to keep order in this quiet corner of Pennsylvania's Graterford State Correctional Institution.

The inmates reflect the racial and ethnic demographics of this prison, thirty-odd miles northwest of Philadelphia. About a quarter of those locked up there identify as Muslim, often drawn from the same South Philly neighborhoods which claim the allegiance of inmates at Graterford, about two-thirds of whom are African-American. Trusting those who they knew outside before they all wound up on the inside, many stick together to attend a particular service among the Islamic options. Three include Warith Deen as the successor to the disbanded Nation of Islam, the Nation of Islam itself as revived under Louis Farrakhan, or an enduring manifestation of earlier Islam in black America, the Moorish Science Temple. Dubler explores this trio; he elaborates how tensions in this prison had once worsened between factions of black Muslim observance. These sparked resentment among staff and politicians who suppressed what they perceived as subversion in a more permissive atmosphere.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
I am only partly the way through it. I run a jail ministry here and hope it will raise my level of consciousness.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison
This item: Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison
Price: $30.00 $21.64
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?