History of Economic Support for American Religion

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 01/01/1996

This grant will support a series of publications and seminars on the economic history of religion in the United States from the colonial period to the present. A group of scholars, representing a wide range of interests in the history and sociology of American religion, will be convened. The project will involve a conversation about how and why people establish, sustain, and fund religious bodies and their ministries. The purpose of the overall project is threefold. One aim is to produce a major economic history of religion from the colonial period to the present. A second aim is to introduce religious leaders to this history in ways that illuminate and shape contemporary practices. This will be accomplished through the writing of eight books on material aspects of religious life. The final aim is to encourage other historians of American religion to think about material aspects of religious experience. Towards this end, "executive seminars" on the history of church finances will be held for Doctor of Ministry students at three seminaries representing a range of denominations and regions. (SM)