More About the Author
About the Author:
Christopher Buck (Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1996; J.D. 2006), is a Pennsylvania attorney/independent scholar, who taught at Michigan State University (2000-2004), Quincy University (1999-2000), Millikin University (1997-1999), and Carleton University (1994-1996).
Dr. Buck's books include: As co-author with J. Gordon Melton (Editor), Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011); Religious Myths and Visions of America: How Minority Faiths Redefined America's World Role (Santa Barbara, CA/Westport, CT: ABC-CLIO/Praeger, 2009); Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy (2005); Generation Y Speaks Out: A Policy Guide (2002); Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha'i Faith (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999); Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Iqan (1995/2004). Widely published, Buck also has authored book chapters as well as journal and encyclopedia articles on topics ranging from the comparative phenomenology of religions to African American studies. Many of his publications may be downloaded for free at Dr. Buck's academic website at christopherbuck DOT com.
For use in teaching the phenomenology of world religions, Buck is known for his "DREAMS Paradigm" -- DOCTRINAL, RITUAL, ETHICAL, ARTISTIC, MYSTICAL and SOCIAL dimensions of religion (with sub-dimensions). See: http://christopherbuck.com/Buck_PDFs/Buck_Momen_1999.pdf.
Buck is also known for his "CLEAR Argument Paradigm," an argument model to assist students in writing their own arguments. Based on the work of British philosopher, Stephen Toulmin (1922-2009), Buck's "CLEAR" mnemonic acronym stands for: CLAIM (Position), LIMITS (Qualifier), EVIDENCE (Reasons, Grounds), ASSUMPTIONS (Warrants & Backing), and REBUTTAL (to objections) See: Christopher Buck, "Religions Share Enduring Values." Enduring Questions for Religion. World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy. Ed. J. Gordon Melton (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO: August 2011). See also: http://www.mackin.com/cms/uploads/eServices/ABC-CLIO_WorldReligions_Flyer_high.pdf.
Buck's biography of Alain Locke -- the first African American Rhodes Scholar (1907) and who Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1968 speech, compared to Plato and Aristotle -- presents Locke's philosophy of democracy in nine dimensions. Buck later edited and introduced previously unpublished essays and speeches by Alain Locke. On June 10, 2011, Buck presented "Alain Locke: Pioneer in Multiculturalism & Race Amity" at the National Race Amity Conference in Boston.
Here are some reviews and endorsements of Religious Myths and Visions of America:
For your evaluation of this title, here are selected reviews and endorsements:
"The topic of America (i.e. the USA) and how it perceives itself is certainly of great current interest. In particular the rising awareness of the role played by religion, which makes this book an attractive read. The book is for the most part accessible for the non-specialist, with no background in Religious Studies, as well as specialists in fields such as American Studies or Political Science. There can be no doubt that Buck's book takes a novel look at America through the lenses of these religious traditions in a way that has not been done before. It provides a fascinating catalogue of religious traditions for inspection, which will be of interest to students of Comparative Religion as well as specialists in other fields. Non-specialists interested in religious views of America will also benefit from reading this to appreciate the diversity of views that populate the religious scenery of America."
-- Daniel Grolin, Bahá'í Studies Review 17.1 (September 2012): 195-197 .
"This volume may be of interest to readers involved not only in Religious Studies, but also in Political Science, History, Intellectual History, American Studies, and Cultural Studies. . . . In the course of the detailed and well-documented analysis of individual religions, Buck reveals a highly elaborate and in-depth picture of the various beliefs, which is indeed impressive. . . He argues that the original myth and vision of America as a nation was captured by the Protestant notion of manifest destiny. This has been challenged by the other faiths . . . that have transformed the idea of manifest destiny into America's common destiny. . . The book is overall a fresh and stimulating cultural reading of some of America's religions and the complex ways in which their followers make sense of and act in the world."
-- Irén E. Annus (University of Szeged, Hungary). Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 15.3 (February 2012): 139-141.
"Religious Myths and Visions of America has many strengths. The author has defended his thesis with solid research. He has also made an original contribution to American studies."
-- Richard Kyle (Tabor College), Journal of American History 98.1 (June 2011): 279-280 .
"This interesting, thoroughly researched scholarly study examines how ten minor religions interpreted America's reality ("nation and notion") and generated numerous religious myths and visions of America. Included are essays on Native Americans (especially Iroquois), Puritans, Catholics, Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist branches), Christian Identity ideologues, Black Muslims, Contemporary Muslims, Buddhists, and Baha'is. . . . The author is a well-known university professor who published other books and articles on comparative religions, and this volume is certainly a welcome addition to the topic of racial, cultural, and ethnic studies. Copious footnotes accompany each chapter. There is also a very extensive bibliography and a good general index. Recommended for comparative ethnic and religion collections."
-- Vladimir F. Wertsman (New York Public Library), Multicultural Review 18.4 (Winter 2009): 66.
1. "Religious Myths and Visions of America is an intellectual feast, sparkling with original interpretations of how many religions have helped shape America's national character, from the Iroquois origin story, to Christian, Mormon, Bahá'í, and Black Muslim beliefs, among others. This book will provoke insights and controversy for years to come."
Bruce E. Johansen, Frederick W. Kayser Professor, School of Communication, University of Nebraska at Omaha--author of Forgotten Founders: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois, and the Rationale for the American Revolution (1982) and (with Donald A. Grinde, Jr.), Exemplar of Liberty: Native America and the Evolution of Democracy (1991).
2. "An experiment on the 'idea of America' with engaging results, this book examines the role of ten religions in redefining America's world role--a topic of importance given America's influence in world affairs. On the premise that America is both 'nation and notion,' this project is a breath of methodological fresh air. Religious Myths and Visions of America is a novel, imaginative and rigorously scholarly contribution to comparative religion, worthy of serious attention and debate. Of general contemporary and historical interest to students, scholars, and thinking people everywhere."
Todd Lawson, Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto--author of Gnostic Apocalypse in Islam: Qur'an, Exegesis, Messianism and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion (2009) and The Crucifixion and the Qur'an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought (2009).
3. "Christopher Buck's new book is a timely and highly readable consideration of the way American religions have continued to remythologize the country. To this theme the author brings impressive research and notable facility in the comparative study of myth while at the same time presenting the material in an entirely accessible, lucid and interesting manner. Few topics are more relevant today, in a time when the self-definition of Americans is such an influential force on the global stage."
William E. Paden, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Vermont--author of Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion (1988/1994), and Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion (1992/2003).
4. "This is an ambitious and unique work, covering a broad range of religious visions of America in their global context. Buck's firm theoretical framework and rigorous documentation make this a significant contribution to contemporary discussions of the place, role and future of the diversity of religions that make up America today."
Andrew Rippin, Professor of History (Specialist in Islamic Studies with an interest in the Qur'an and the history of its interpretation), Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria, Canada--author of Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (2005), and editor of The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an (2006) and The Islamic World (2008).
5. "For those of us who have yearned for a more readable and scholarly book on the multifaceted ways in which minorities, be they racial, cultural or religious, have 'redefined America's world role,' Christopher Buck's most recent book is a welcome addition to the fields of racial, cultural and ethnic studies. Using myths and visions of minority faiths, Buck has introduced an engaging and fresh new approach to understanding and appreciating the influence of these faiths on America's role in the world. He does this by bringing these minority faiths from the periphery of scholarly discourse to the center of a new, more inclusive scholarly discourse."
"Scholars have always known about the impact of race and ethnicity on religion throughout American history, but Buck's contribution is in the way that he explains the historical connections between race and religion and in the process of shaping America's role in the world. Above all, Buck keeps the reader engaged and intrigued in a study that reads like a good novel by a warm fire on a cold winter evening."
Richard W. Thomas, Professor of History, Michigan State University--author of Racial Unity: An Imperative For Social Progress (1993) and Understanding Interracial Unity: A Study of U.S. Race Relations (1996).
6. "In this remarkable book, Dr. Buck examines the key religious ideas that have shaped America's idea of itself. It's a broadly informed and beautifully written work that reveals the various strains in American mythology and religion. This country has always had a visionary aspect, a sense of the numinous; this impulse has taken many different forms. I can think of no subject in American studies more central to our national psyche. This is an important, interesting, thought-provoking work."
Jay Parini, D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing, Middlebury College--author of Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America (2008).