Southern Churches in Crisis Revisited / Edition 3

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Hill’s landmark work in southern religious history returns to print updated and expanded - and compellingly relevant.

 In 1966, Samuel S. Hill’s Southern Churches in Crisis argued that southern Protestantism, a cornerstone of white southern society and culture, was shirking its moral duty by refusing to join in the fight for racial justice. Hill predicted that the church was risking its standing in southern society and that it would ultimately decline in influence and power. A groundbreaking study at the time, Hill’s book helped establish southern religious history as a field of scholarly inquiry. Three decades later, Southern Churches in Crisis continues to be widely read, quoted, and cited.
In Southern Churches in Crisis Revisited, which reprints the 1966 text in full, Hill reexamines his earlier predictions in an introductory essay that also describes how the study of religion in the south has become a major field of scholarly inquiry. Ill skillfully engages his critics and revisers integrating new perspectives and recent scholarship. He suggests new areas for exploration and provides a selected bibliography of key studies in southern religious history that have been published during the last three decades.
In a second essay entitled “Thirty Years Later,” Hill contends that a new crisis has emerged. He finds that the current dilemma, unlike the externally driven crisis of the 1960s is strictly an internal affair, initiated by the churches and related to doctrinal orthodoxy. He concludes that the triumph of rational purity over “the religion of the heart” has inaugurated an era in the South’s religious life that promises to produce major changes in the storied relation of church and culture in this most visibly religious section of the United States. 
Southern Churches in Crisis Revisited will be of value to scholars and students interested in the author’s reexamination of this powerful and influential force in Southern religion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“How welcome it is to see this seminal book available again! And now it is enhanced by an eloquent, part-historiographical/part-autobiographical introduction and an incisive, broad-ranging epilogue that examines another fateful crisis in the southern churches. This book, renewed and reinforced, is as important now as it was thirty years ago.” - John Boles, Rice University
To the full text of his original 1966 warning that southern Protestants must join the fight for racial justice or decline in influence, Hill (religion, U. of Florida) adds an introductory essay. There he reexamines his predictions, describes how the study of religion in the south has become a major scholarly field, engages his critics and revisers, integrates new perspectives, and suggests new areas for exploration. He also updates the bibliographic references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817309794
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Series: Religion and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel S. Hill is Professor Emeritus of Religion at the University of Florida.

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Table of Contents

Southern Churches in Crisis Revisited
Studies since 1990: A Representative List
Thirty Years Later: An Interpretive Essay
Pt. i The Distinctiveness of the Southern Religious Picture
1 The Changing South and Regional Religion: An Overview 3
2 The Southern Accent in Religion 20
3 The Peculiarity of the Southern Religious Situation 40
4 The Shaping Forces in the Southern Religious Heritage 51
Pt. ii The Essence of Popular Southern Protestantism
5 The Central Theme 73
6 Theological Fruits of the Central Theme 89
7 Practical Fruits of the Central Theme 103
Pt. iii Classification of Popular Southern Protestantism
8 Southern Religion in Relation to Historical Christianity 119
9 Church-type, Sect-type 139
Pt. iv Beyond Analysis: The Church in a Changing Society
10 The Uses of Religion in the South 163
11 The Threat of Rejection 175
12 The Danger of Irresponsibility 193
Notes 212
Index 231
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