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Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America Paperback – August 6, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 6, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140082689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140082685
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It would be a good thing for America if this book were widely read and discussed."
Los Angeles Times

"Marty weaves a fascinating tapestry of personal histories."
The Washington Post

"Page for page, it is the most engaging one-volume history of American religion we now have."
The New York Times Book Review

"An essential book for serious students of American society."
Chicago Sun-Times Book Week

About the Author

Martin Marty, one of today’s most respected theologians, is professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, where the Martin Marty Center has been founded to promote public religion endeavors. His more than fifty books include Modern American Religion. He is a winner of the National Book Award and was the first religion scholar to receive the National Humanities Medal.


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is much good and little to criticize about "Pilgrims." Marty employs a common conceit of pop history, using biographical sketches to transmit historical data. This makes for a very readable book and gives the memory a peg upon which to hang the plethora of information presented. The disadvantage is that historical movements are inavoidably ascribed to a few persons and thereby made two dimensional. This is not, however, so bad in a survey such as this one because the full story of any one movement would not fit.
One is ashamed, having read Marty's book, of having missed almost entirely the religious movements which determined the character of America today to a much greater degree than the posturings of politicians and rhetoriticians. His presentation is balanced and his prejudices only rarely peek through.
Any believer who reads "Pilgrims" will have a better understanding of the peculiar American character of certain aspects of her or his faith. Any non-believer may become stimulated to ask why so many for so long have found life's answers in religious faith - what the common denominator is among the array of ecclesial expressions.
The last chapter of the book - but none of the others - has been made obsolete by time. Current trends are, of course, often ephemeral and guessing which will last is a gamble at best. Much has changed since the 1984 publication date(e.g., the proliferation of mega churches, the snowballing movement among existing Southern Black Baptist congregations to join the Southern Baptist Convention, the massive impact of the Charismatic Renewal on many established Christian religions and the apparent success of Jewish day schools in reversing the loss of particularization among Orthodox and Conservative youth, to name a few examples.)
The book is a great read and a good first exposure to a little known and critical aspect of American life.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
For a highly readable and engaging history of religion in America, you can't get much better than Marty. "Pilgrims" is the work of an accomplished scholar who knows how to write history as it should be: an ongoing drama filled with interesting characters moved by varying motivations. All historians, however, let their personal worldviews slip onto the page, and this is the only complaint that I have about Marty. As a liberal Protestant theologian and historian he has a tendency to discredit evangelical theology. This is not so much of a problem when he deals with the great evangelicals of previous centuries (the Francis Asburys and the Jonathan Edwards, for example), but as he approaches the twentieth century he clearly favors the theology of, say, Reinhold Niebuhr or Walter Rauschenbusch over the conversion theology of Billy Graham (perhaps he thinks Jesus' statement that, "you must be born again," applies only to conservative politicians?). This is a minor quibble, however, and one that is to be expected. Marty paints the picture of American religious life as a vivid panorama of people and movements committed, in their own way, to that particularly American brand of the human search for God.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charlene M. Smith on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This manuscript is a wonderful history of religion in America. It is a must read for a serious Christian historian. It does however, tend to speak to empathetically about views that are dramatically unorthodox according to established and fundamental Biblical doctrine. However, that said it speaks warmly of the people involved in past and current religious developments and the circumstances which lead to their distinct movements. I recommend this book not for its clear exposition of orthodox Christianity but for its detailing of Christianity's influence in America.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth W. Noe on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Last spring my pastor asked me to teach an adult level Sunday School class on the history of American Christianity. After consulting with two professors of religious history and considerable library browsing, I settled on this book for reasons on availability and cost, inclusiveness, and the reputation of the author. It has worked exceedingly well, better than I hoped. Marty did occasionally forget to provide basic definitions and overviews, but overall I think this is the best book for any similar class.
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