The Culture of Religious Pluralism

The Culture of Religious Pluralism

The Culture of Religious Pluralism

The Culture of Religious Pluralism


Providing a historical context to religious pluralism, Richard E. Wentz examines the challenges that this presents to denominationalism and civil religion, and considers the influence of secularism on the culture of religious pluralism.


This book emerges out of a conversation with Spencer Carr, at the time a senior editor with Westview Press. The project grew out of his suggestion that I have a "go" at the business of describing the contours of pluralism. Because my scholarly career has been spent thinking about religion in American history, I have quite naturally explored pluralism in that context.

I owe a great deal to so many people whose ideas have become part of my own language. I cannot give them all credit, for fear of leaving out the names of dear friends and others who contributed, often unknowingly, to my hermeneutical maneuvers. However, I have singled out Sidney Mead for my dedication because I am very much in harmony with his imaginative handling of "data" referred to as "history," and also because I have come to know him so well since he came to Arizona to live out his latter days. Although "trained" as a historian, I have been most interested in what history means, with how we may use historical perspective to create a meaningful discourse about human destiny.

As usual, my wife, Cynthia, has provided the critical nudging that challenges cherished ideas. She is a scholar of considerable scope, and one devoted to issues of religion and justice, particularly with regard to Native Americans. She keeps me as honest as possible to the degree that I allow anyone to tamper with the dishonesty that resides within. She will recognize many of her own ideas within these pages.

To all those who may somehow learn that human religiousness is greater than the sum of religions, I offer this study. We cannot proceed, however, without friendly acknowledgment of the faithfulness of Jim Dybdahl, who has worked with my handwritten manuscripts for many years, transforming them into documents suitable for editorial action.

Richard E. Wentz . . .

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