Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History

Edited by John B. Boles

Title Details

Pages: 288

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 08/01/2001

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2297-1

List Price: $48.95

Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History

Edited by John B. Boles

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

Invoking the strong ties they sense between the courses of their lives and their careers, the sixteen historians of religion who have contributed to Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History share their thoughts and motivations. In these highly personal essays, both pioneering and promising young scholars discuss their work and interests as they recall how the circumstances of their upbringing and education steered them toward religious history. They tell of their own time and place and of their growing awareness of how religion ties into larger social issues: gender, class, and, most notably, race. Indeed, one essay begins, "I was asked to write about why I came to study religion in the South. It was then I realized that it was because my grandfather had been lynched."

Lutheran, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, and Episcopal viewpoints are represented as, of course, are Baptist. Some contributors have stood in the pulpit; others at least commenced their higher education with that aim. While some contributors were born and reared, and now work in the Bible Belt, others are outsiders—physically, philosophically, or both. Some came from intellectual traditions; others were the first in their family to attend college.

Despite their common interest in its history, southern religion is anything but an intellectual abstraction for the contributors to this book. It is a potent force, and here sixteen men and women offer themselves as proof of its power to shape lives.

Confession is good for the soul. Herein, it's also revealing of history and historiography. These autobiographical reflections remind us, too, how much the personal informs scholarship. We all might fess up to that fact, as these good people do, and offer more honest reflections of ourselves and the history we write.

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

For any devotee of the field, these rare peeks into the minds and souls of respected colleagues are a treat indeed.

Journal of Southern History

[An] intimate collection . . . These fifteen scholars enlighten specialists or interested outsiders about a discipline that they nurtured and now pass on to the next generation.

Florida Historical Quarterly

In the essay in this volume we see something of the making of the scholars who produced landmark studies in southern religious history. . . . Boles’s collection is itself a valuable contribution to the study of southern religious history; in fact, one might think of doing the same thing—exploring the origins of academic interest and commitment—for a number of other disciplines as well.

—Fred Hobson, Journal of Southern Religion

A superb compilation. These personal essays represent history at its best via the autobiographical model, and the anthology will become a classic for others to emulate.

Journal of Appalachian Studies

Albert Raboteau

Andrew Manis

Charles Reagan Wilson

David Harrell

Donald Mathews

E. Holifield

Frederick A. Bode

Jean E. Friedman

Lynn Lyerly

Mitchell Snay

Robert Calhoon

Samuel S. Hill

Thomas E. Buckley

Wayne Flynt

John Shelton Reed

About the Author/Editor

JOHN B. BOLES is William Pettus Hobby Professor of History at Rice University and managing editor of the Journal of Southern History. His books include The South through Time and Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History (Georgia).