Religious Education between Modernization and Globalization: New Perspectives on the United States and Germany

By Van Gelder, Craig | International Bulletin of Missionary Research, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Religious Education between Modernization and Globalization: New Perspectives on the United States and Germany


Van Gelder, Craig, International Bulletin of Missionary Research


Religious Education Between Modernization and Globalization: New Perspectives on the United States and Germany. By Richard R. Osmer and Friedrich Schweitzer. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Pp. xix, 319. Paperback $40.

Cross-cultural comparative studies have become common in most academic disciplines during the past two decades. Richard Osmer and Friedrich Schweitzer use this approach to provide a comparison between the United States and Germany in the field of religious education during the twentieth century. Their primary thesis is that the theory and practice of religious education is best understood as being interdependent with the social context, an interdependence best understood when explored comparatively.

The backdrop for their analysis is the impact that modernization had on religious education in the first decades of the twentieth century, followed by the impact that globalization has had in the last half. Some perspective on the emerging influence of the postmodern is offered, but their analysis on this point is tentative.

Representative figures and key texts in the field of religious education are used from three periods-1900-30,1945-50, and after the 1960s-to explore how individuals, families, churches, and the public were impacted in the two countries. …

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