Catalogue


After heaven : spirituality in America since the 1950s /
Robert Wuthnow.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1998.
description
ix, 277 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520213963 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1998.
isbn
0520213963 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
2328006
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 247-263) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Robert Wuthnow has undoubtedly become the most informed and insightful commentator on religion in America today. In this book he enlivens a comprehensive account of what has happened to us spiritually by including sparkling vignettes of real people and their stories. What he paints is a complex, sometimes confusing but hopeful picture of the changing soul of America."--Harvey Cox, author ofFire From Heaven "A beautifully written, sensitive interpretation of contemporary American culture and its religious dimensions. This book will surely stir considerable interest, discussion, and debate. It is not only a penetrating analysis, but a very stimulating and challenging one as well."--Father Andrew Greeley, University of Chicago "After Heavenoccupies a rare and necessary place between sympathetic understanding and critical assessment. . . . Wuthnow has done a superb job examining the current state of religious practice in America."--Jacob Needleman, author ofThe New Religion "For those of us who are both excited and bewildered by highly visible recent trends in spirituality, this is a must-read book. Robert Wuthnow has a firm grasp on the traditions of spiritual life, but he also probes with great sensitivity the popular quests of recent decades. His study combines solid research into the social realities with genuine spiritual insight."--Richard J. Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary "Robert Wuthnow, one of the foremost interpreters of American society and its religious cultures, excels at describing and analyzing America's complex negotiation with a world of expanding but fragmentary knowledge, distracting materialism, and fleeting moments of grace.After Heaven, in its range and depth of analysis of spiritual trends since the 1950s, is a worthy and welcomed companion to the author's classic study of ideological change in postwar religious institutions,The Restructuring of American Religion."--R. Scott Appleby, Associate Professor of History, Director, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism
Flap Copy
"Robert Wuthnow has undoubtedly become the most informed and insightful commentator on religion in America today. In this book he enlivens a comprehensive account of what has happened to us spiritually by including sparkling vignettes of real people and their stories. What he paints is a complex, sometimes confusing but hopeful picture of the changing soul of America."--Harvey Cox, author of Fire From Heaven "A beautifully written, sensitive interpretation of contemporary American culture and its religious dimensions. This book will surely stir considerable interest, discussion, and debate. It is not only a penetrating analysis, but a very stimulating and challenging one as well."--Father Andrew Greeley, University of Chicago " After Heavenoccupies a rare and necessary place between sympathetic understanding and critical assessment. . . . Wuthnow has done a superb job examining the current state of religious practice in America."--Jacob Needleman, author of The New Religion "For those of us who are both excited and bewildered by highly visible recent trends in spirituality, this is a must-read book. Robert Wuthnow has a firm grasp on the traditions of spiritual life, but he also probes with great sensitivity the popular quests of recent decades. His study combines solid research into the social realities with genuine spiritual insight."--Richard J. Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary "Robert Wuthnow, one of the foremost interpreters of American society and its religious cultures, excels at describing and analyzing America's complex negotiation with a world of expanding but fragmentary knowledge, distracting materialism, and fleeting moments of grace. After Heaven, in its range and depth of analysis of spiritual trends since the 1950s, is a worthy and welcomed companion to the author's classic study of ideological change in postwar religious institutions, The Restructuring of American Religion."--R. Scott Appleby, Associate Professor of History, Director, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-03-01:
Spirituality--beliefs and activities that deepen one's relationship with the sacred--exists in two modes. The traditional spirituality of relating to God in sacred places is giving way to a spirituality of seeking God in sacred moments. Significant alterations in our culture are producing this change from "dwelling-oriented" toward "seeking-oriented" spirituality. The analysis by Wuthnow (sociology, Princeton) includes factors such as changes in family structure and home life, increased complexity in social and cultural environments, development of a "religion industry," intensified focus on internal aspects of the self, greater geographical mobility, and globalization of social structures and cultural norms. As individuals increasingly belong to multiple communities, they develop greater respect for beliefs and activities that are nonlocal. Such experience alters the boundaries of sacred space. There is a growing awareness that spirituality and organized religion are different; "seeking-oriented" spirituality is enhanced. In the last chapter Wuthnow offers "practice-oriented" spirituality as a third alternative. This interpretative work is well grounded in research, including long interviews with people of various ages and backgrounds. Effective use of examples drawn from those interviews greatly enhances the readability of this important book. Recommended for graduate students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners. R. L. Herrick; emeritus, Westmar University
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-09-01:
Analyzing the development of spirituality in the last half-century, Wuthnow (God and Mammon in America, LJ 9/1/94) uses in-depth interviews and opinion surveys‘and a firm grasp of existing scholarly material on the subject‘to effectively draw connections between individual experiences and wider cultural developments. Showing how the meaning of spirituality has grown and changed over the past 50 years, Wuthnow contrasts the more stable but comforting "dwelling-oriented" spirituality with the more dynamic but less secure "seeker-oriented" spirituality. After tracing the relationship between these two approaches from the early 1950s to the late 1990s, he then suggests what he calls "practice-oriented" spirituality as a way to give both "roots and wings" to spirituality in the future. Anyone interested in the field will definitely want to read this work, a scholarly and readable examination with some creative insights. Recommended for academic and public libraries.‘C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist,
Kirkus Reviews, September 1998
Library Journal, September 1998
Boston Book Review, October 1998
Choice, March 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The evolution of American spirituality over the past fifty years is the subject of Robert Wuthnow's engrossing new book. Wuthnow uses in-depth interviews and a broad range of resource materials to show how Americans, from teenagers to senior citizens, define their spiritual journeys. His findings are a telling reflection of the changes in beliefs and lifestyles that have occurred throughout the United States in recent decades. Wuthnow reconstructs the social and cultural reasons for an emphasis on a spirituality ofdwelling(houses of worship, denominations, neighborhoods) during the 1950s. Then in the 1960s a spirituality ofseekingbegan to emerge, leading individuals to go beyond established religious institutions. In subsequent chapters Wuthnow examines attempts to reassert spiritual discipline, encounters with the sacred (such as angels and near-death experiences), and the development of the "inner self." His final chapter discusses a spirituality ofpractice, an alternative for people who are uncomfortable within a single religious community and who want more than a spirituality of endless seeking. The diversity of contemporary American spirituality comes through in the voices of the interviewees. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Native Americans are included, as are followers of occult practices, New Age religions, and other eclectic groups. Wuthnow also notes how politicized spirituality, evangelical movements, and resources such as Twelve-Step programs and mental health therapy influence definitions of religious life today. Wuthnow's landmark book,The Restructuring of American Religion(1988), documented the changes in institutional religion in the United States; nowAfter Heavenexplains the changes in personal spirituality that have come to shape our religious life. Moreover, it is a compelling and insightful guide to understanding American culture at century's end.
Main Description
The evolution of American spirituality over the past fifty years is the subject of Robert Wuthnow's engrossing new book. Wuthnow uses in-depth interviews and a broad range of resource materials to show how Americans, from teenagers to senior citizens, define their spiritual journeys. His findings are a telling reflection of the changes in beliefs and lifestyles that have occurred throughout the United States in recent decades. Wuthnow reconstructs the social and cultural reasons for an emphasis on a spirituality of dwelling(houses of worship, denominations, neighborhoods) during the 1950s. Then in the 1960s a spirituality of seekingbegan to emerge, leading individuals to go beyond established religious institutions. In subsequent chapters Wuthnow examines attempts to reassert spiritual discipline, encounters with the sacred (such as angels and near-death experiences), and the development of the "inner self." His final chapter discusses a spirituality of practice, an alternative for people who are uncomfortable within a single religious community and who want more than a spirituality of endless seeking. The diversity of contemporary American spirituality comes through in the voices of the interviewees. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Native Americans are included, as are followers of occult practices, New Age religions, and other eclectic groups. Wuthnow also notes how politicized spirituality, evangelical movements, and resources such as Twelve-Step programs and mental health therapy influence definitions of religious life today. Wuthnow's landmark book, The Restructuring of American Religion(1988), documented the changes in institutional religion in the United States; now After Heavenexplains the changes in personal spirituality that have come to shape our religious life. Moreover, it is a compelling and insightful guide to understanding American culture at century's end.

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