Imagining Judeo-Christian America

Religion, Secularism, and the Redefinition of Democracy

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K. Healan Gaston
  • Chicago: 
    University of Chicago Press
    , November
     2019.
     368 pages.
     $35.00.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780226663852.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Adele Reinhartz forthcoming.

Description

“Judeo-Christian” is a remarkably easy term to look right through. Judaism and Christianity obviously share tenets, texts, and beliefs that have strongly influenced American democracy. In this ambitious book, however, K. Healan Gaston challenges the myth of a monolithic Judeo-Christian America. She demonstrates that the idea is not only a recent and deliberate construct, but also a potentially dangerous one. From the time of its widespread adoption in the 1930s, the ostensible inclusiveness of Judeo-Christian terminology concealed efforts to promote particular conceptions of religion, secularism, and politics. Gaston also shows that this new language, originally rooted in arguments over the nature of democracy that intensified in the early Cold War years, later became a marker in the culture wars that continue today. She argues that the debate on what constituted Judeo-Christian—and American—identity has shaped the country’s religious and political culture much more extensively than previously recognized.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

K. Healan Gaston is a lecturer in American religious history and ethics at Harvard Divinity School.

Keywords: 

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