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God Talk in America Paperback – September 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824517733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824517731
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,981,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Tickle (My Father's Prayer, LJ 5/1/95) describes her writing style as that of a dance where movement as well as conversation is important. She shows that in this technological age religious beliefs in the United States are not dying but flourishing and transforming as society transforms, especially with the advent of the Internet. She speaks about the democracy of theology, arguing that the forms and functions of religion are now being defined by the common, everyday "God-talk" of people seeking spirituality in these chaotic times. She covers a vast amount of territory very quickly; people such as Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung pop up, then vanish; ideas are thrown around; and, to emphasize the connectiveness of all religious information, the author has "spun off" extensive commentaries and asides as notes of the book. This interesting, amusing, and enlightening work can be difficult to read unless one understands the dance. For public and theological libraries.?Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Religious publishing, TV, and now the Internet have radically altered theological discourse in this country over the last 50 years, argues Tickle, who sees the developments as a vindication of all that the Reformation and American individualism stand for. By ``god-talk'' Tickle means theology taken in a very broad sense, viz., what people are actually saying about their religious, spiritual, or moral concerns. A contributing editor in religion to Publishers Weekly, she views her subject very much as a phenomenon of the media and market forces. Joseph Campbell, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Moyers (with his Genesis series) are some of her heroes, people who have brought questions formerly reserved for theologians into everyone's living room. Tickle gives us details of the phenomenal growth in numbers of Internet users and of hits at a vast range of religious sites. She believes that universal access to information has created a new, democratic kind of theology, influenced by the many who are not formally religious and have no desire to be. Tickle writes about information overload, and in many ways her book is an example of this. The pages are crammed with detail and ever-changing references, giving the impression of an extended visit to an online chat room. More disconcerting is the author's uncritical optimism about the trends she so vividly describes. She celebrates the emancipation of theology from the churches and hails an age of unmediated spirituality, as if such developments have not always been commonplaces of Quakers and Puritans, not to mention the 19th-century Transcendentalists. Above all, she omits any reference to the warnings found in most of the great traditions that religious knowledge, unlike data, can be acquired only by experience and practice. A graphic expression of the superficiality of the current American religious situation. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hyers, Ph.D. on September 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am prompted to review this book because the only reader review rates this book so poorly. I read it several years ago and was very impressed with Mrs. Tickle's knowledge of contemporary religious discourse (printed, oral, and electronic). I found her material to be extremely well-documented and her prose style to be simple on first glance. However, her thoughts are complex and invite careful reading. Chapters were brief but so densely packed with meaning that more than one reading yielded ideas on several levels. I assumed that Mrs. Tickle is a Ph.D. of religious studies and teaches in a university or seminary somewhere. Only this year did I discover that she lives on a farm in rural Tennessee and is the mother of seven children. She has been a contributing editor in religion for Publishers Weekly for many years, and she has obviously done her homework. This is not a book for people who want an easy romp through some inspirational matter, but those who want to have an overview of much that is happening in America should give it a try. It looks like a simple text, but it is a rich field for the careful, thoughtful reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By hildegard on March 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I want to add my voice to that of the reviewer praising this book. I ran across Tickle's book several years ago at a retreat center where I volunteer and spent much of the remaining time I was there furiously taking notes.

For anyone interested in why traditional religious constructs have little meaning for modern Americans, this is the place to start. The author, who was Religion Editor at Publishers Weekly and thus could see every new trend as it developed, analyzes the effect of every thinker and trend on American religion in the past 50 years -- such as the influence of Joseph Campbell and his application of Jungian mythology.

Since this book came out, Phyllis Tickle has moved on to examine the possibilities of the so-called "emerging church" as a locus for both the faithful and for spiritual seekers.
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Format: Paperback
Former religion publisher Phyllis Tickle surveys late 20th century tendencies in book publishing, illustrating a snapshot of the times that seems archaic almost twenty years later. Tickle has an unfortunate writerly tendency to take a metaphor and overwork it to its own detriment. The book begins with an ungainly comparison of books to dances and this particular book to a Virginia Reel – what does that even mean? She outlines the footnotes to the book as a form of extended conversation that seems confusing read either by themselves or in tandem with the text. Tickle also includes “interludes” such as her childhood altar covered by Dante’s inferno or her mother washing laundry by hand that I find useless and frustrating. Most of all, her methodology of surveying the books published in the field is an increasingly irrelevant survey in a digital media age. Read Tickle’s volume to find out what was being published in religion in the early 1990s, but not useful for much theological or sociological theorizing beyond that.
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book, by a religion editor who should have much to say, is an example of rambling impressionistic writing of the worst sort. A disappointing waste of time and money!
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More About the Author

Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, is one of the most highly respected authorities and popular speakers on religion in America today. She is the author of more than two dozen books including the Divine Hours series of prayer manuals. A lector and lay eucharistic minister in the Episcopal Church, Tickle is a senior fellow of the Cathedral College of Washington National Cathedral. For more information go to www.phyllistickle.com and www.allthewordsofjesus.com.

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