Reimagining Denominationalism: Interpretive Essays

Mullin, Robert Bruce, and Russell E. Richey, eds. Reimagining Denominationalism: Interpretive Essays. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Reimagining Denominationalism, edited by Robert Bruce Mullin and Russell E. Richey, contain sixteen essays, generated by scholars in the fields of religion, history, religious studies, sociology of religion, history of religions, church history, and Judaic studies, which propose a reevaluation of denominationalism often eclipsed or ignored in the religious historiography of the 20th century. According to the editors in their Introduction, certain historiographical, social, and theological presuppositions both extrinsic and intrinsic to denominationalism in the 20th century—factors which served to de-center denominational studies in American religious historiography—are giving way to a renewed interest in denominational histories and the relation of denominations to American society. The essays in this volume aim at renewing interest among the wider scholarly community in engaging denominational studies anew, and seek to offer a number of models for those so interested. <p> The essays are grouped in three main sections: Overviews, Models, and Case Studies. Section I (“Overviews”) considers past and present states of denominational studies and suggests changes for their future. Essayists include Henry Warner Bowden, William Hutchison, Jay Dolan, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Russell Richey and Charles Long. Section II (“Models”) presents a number of methodological approaches for the study of denominationalism derived from the fields of sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and the history of religions. The writers are Nancy Ammerman, Robert Orsi, Robert Bruce Mullin, and Jan Shipps. Section III (“Case Studies”) applies new approaches in denominational studies to specific denominational traditions and issues. Jean Miller Schmidt, Marc Lee Raphael, Will Gravely, James Moorhead, Bradley Longfield and Christa Klein write this section’s chapters. <p> The book’s presentation favors the Judeo-Christian tradition and mainline Protestant denominations since students within these communities are the ones primarily seeking to reexamine denominationalism. Though these communities first adopted the concept and are mostly in need of new approaches in studying it, the editors desire that the book’s influence extend beyond this tradition to assist other religious communities as well.