The Protestant Voice in American Pluralism

By Gaustad, Edwin S. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 2004 | Go to article overview

The Protestant Voice in American Pluralism


Gaustad, Edwin S., The Catholic Historical Review


American The Protestant Voice in American Pluralism. By Martin E. Marty. [George H. Shriver Lecture Series in Religion in American History, No. 2.] (Athens: University of Georgia Press. 2004. Pp. xii, 84. $22.95.)

Based on a series of lectures delivered at Stetson University, this brief but provocative book displays Marty as an in-control ring master in a circus tent filled with trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, bare-back riders, and wild animals of every stripe. And the author is unfazed by all the hurly-burly around him. He hardly ever needs to use his whip, for most performers seem to know their place.

One can only admire the daring of this ringmaster who treats 350 years of Protestantism in America in fewer than fifty pages. The author readily admits that nearly every sentence in this supersonic sweep could have a book written about it-and Martin Marty has -written many of them. In addressing the last fifty years of the American Protestant story, the author slows down his pace a bit, but the high altitude of the flight is maintained. It is here that the "pluralism" part of the title takes over, as the story line becomes vastly more complex. …

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