Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America

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Overview

What can the religious objects used by nineteenth- and twentieth-century Americans tell us about American Christianity? What is the relationship between the beliefs of the faithful and the landscapes they build? This lavishly illustrated book investigates the history and meaning of Christian material culture in America over the last 150 years. Drawing on a rich array of historical sources and on in-depth interviews with Protestants, Catholics, and Mormons, Colleen McDannell examines the relationship between religion and mass consumption. McDannell claims that previous studies of American Christianity have overemphasized the written, cognitive, and ethical dimensions of religion, presenting faith as a disembodied system of beliefs. She shifts attention from the church and the theological seminary to the workplace, home, cemetery, and Sunday school. Thus McDannell highlights a different Christianity - one in which average Christians experience the divine, the nature of death, the power of healing, and the meaning of community through interacting with a created world of devotional images, environments, and objects.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300074994
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Illustration Credits
1 Material Christianity 1
2 Piety, Art, Fashion: The Religious Object 17
3 The Bible in the Victorian Home 67
4 The Religious Symbolism of Laurel Hill Cemetery 103
5 Lourdes Water and American Catholicism 132
6 Christian Kitsch and the Rhetoric of Bad Taste 163
7 Mormon Garments: Sacred Clothing and the Body 198
8 Christian Retailing 222
Epilogue 270
Notes 277
Index 306
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