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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America Paperback – August 6, 1985

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 6, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140082689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140082685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who might think they know all about the history of Christianity is mistaken if they've not read this most interesting book. This was one book I had difficulty putting down. Marty makes clear to his readers that religious strife did not end when persecuted Christians fled Europe and what religious contributions each immigrant group brought to America. Buy and feast on this one!!
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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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Marty has done a good job of covering a wide breadth of material using language that the everyday reader can understand. Unfortunately, his book is very unreadable due to the following faults:

1. Organization - The book feels like a randomly assorted collection of paragraphs that jump back and forth between various timeframes. One will find mention of a particular historical character who is discussed for a page or so, only to find the discussion picked back up several pages later.

One will also find that the chronology within each chapter jumps back and forth between decades and even centuries. Rather than presenting history in a way which starts from the past and proceeds toward the present, Marty discusses topic after topic which does not correspond in timeframe or in similitude of subject.

There are no subheadings to guide the presentation on any kind of coherent theme or argument. There are occassions where the chapter title hints at the topic of the next 20 pages, but one struggles to find an actual argument that can be traced throughout the chapter.

There is no summary paragraph at the end of the chapters which outlines the main idea that was being communicated throughout the chapter. This is most likely due to the fact that there is no consistent theme under consideration in each chapter.

The work reads like a collected series of short essays pasted together non-chronologically where the reader is constantly asking "Why are you now discussing _____ when the last sentence was on a completely different topic in a different period of time and in a different place?"

2.
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