“I believe that Robert Bellah is one of the more incisive religious commentators we’ve had on the American scene in recent times. Drawing on an astounding range of literatures, he has helped us see what otherwise might not be seen. At once sociological theorist, social critic, and serious religious thinker, Bellah has blazed new trails for helping establish work in several disciplines. We are therefore extremely fortunate to have this superb collection of his work as otherwise the interconnectedness of all that Bellah has done might be lost.”—Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University
“Is it true, as some claim, that the more modern a society, the weaker our sense of the sacred? Does a sense of the sacred somehow ‘liquefy,’ as Habermas suggests, as society grows ever more ‘rational’? In this collection of brilliant and bold meditations on the works of Durkheim, Weber, Rousseau, Goffman, and others, Robert Bellah arrives at his own nuanced answers. An important and enlightening read.”—Arlie Hochschild, University of California, Berkeley
“No other scholar has had a more profound influence on my thinking than Robert Bellah. His has been a strong and challenging voice in the continuing debate about modernity’s effects on America and on the human condition. Having these important essays collected in a single volume is a valuable service. My hope is that the next generation of students and scholars will savor these essays and learn from them what it means to engage in critical reflection about the deepest quandaries of our time.”—Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University
“Robert Bellah is without question one of the leaders in the senior generation of sociologists of religion. He embodies informed spiritual inquiry and a mentality I would call ‘expansively catholic’ in the sense of ‘penetrating the dimensions of being.’ He also has a protestant outlook, manifesting an ability to be critical of entities and scholarly works he affirms.”—Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago
“The Robert Bellah Reader brings together in a single text a selection of the writings of a thought-provoking scholar whose writings on the social study of religion currently span 55 years and over 250 items. . . . The Robert Bellah Reader constantly provokes the reader into a reflective mode that stimulates new ways of thinking about our contemporary situation,”
(Kay Adamson, Sociology
“The Robert Bellah Reader demonstrates what a serious scholar can accomplish when he perceives a disciplinary identity as secondary to the pursuits of knowledge and of understanding one’s culture and society.”
(Richard C. Collins, Virginia Quarterly Review
“The Robert Bellah Reader is a gift to readers, offering a generous view of the scholar behind the ideas. We meet a wide-ranging thinker whose work addresses social science, historical social change, and what was once called ‘moral philosophy.’”
(D. Michael Lindsay, Commonweal
“Bellah is truly one of today’s most powerful commentators on the social, cultural and religious meaning of modernity, in America and elsewhere. . . . The Robert Bellah Reader is a collection of twenty-eight of Bellah’s most stimulating essays. . . . [I]t is not the breadth of Bellah’s work that is so impressive; it is rather the depth. No one can read Bellah extensively without feeling privileged to read the work of a true scholar, one who is able to combine vast learning with graceful writing.”
(Derek H. Davis, Journal of Law and Religion
About the Author
Robert N. Bellah is the Elliott Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He coauthored The Good Society and Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has sold more than 500,000 copies. His other books include Imagining Japan, The Broken Covenant, and Beyond Belief. In 2000 President Clinton awarded Bellah the National Humanities Medal.
Steven M. Tipton teaches sociology and religion at Emory University and its Candler School of Theology, where he is a Professor and Director of the Graduate Division of Religion. He is the author of Getting Saved from the Sixties and Public Pulpits (forthcoming) and a coauthor of The Good Society and Habits of the Heart.