Panel to discuss Wake Forest president’s book

Panel to discuss  Wake Forest president’s book
January 28
00:00 2015
(Above: WFU Photo, President Nathan O. Hatch speaks at a school event last year.)

A quarter century after it was published, scholars are still talking about the award-winning book, “The Democratization of American Christianity,” written by Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch.

To mark the book’s 25th anniversary, Wake Forest will host a half-day symposium Friday, Feb. 6 featuring seven of the country’s most distinguished scholars of early American religion reflecting on the influence of the book.

The event will run from noon to 4:30 p.m. in Farrell Hall’s Broyhill Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Described as one of the three most significant books on American Christianity in the last century, President Hatch’s book argues that the empowerment of ordinary people wrought by the American Revolution has been as central to the history of American religion as it has been to American political history.

“People often ask why America is so much more ‘religious’ than her Western European counterparts,” said Jay Ford, professor and chair of Wake Forest’s religion department and one of the organizers of the symposium. “Dr. Hatch’s book remains significant because it uncovers the very seeds, planted in the early republic, to the rich vibrancy of American Christianity still evident today.”

After a welcome and introduction, two discussions led by a panel of distinguished scholars will address the influence and impact of “The Democratization of American Christianity” and highlight more recent scholarship and critical assessments of the book.  The event will conclude with a response from President Hatch.

The following professors will participate: Catherine Brekus, Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at Harvard Divinity School;  Sylvester Johnson, Associate Professor of African-American Studies and Religious Studies at Northwestern University; Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at University of Notre Dame; Seth Perry, Assistant Professor of Religion at Princeton University; Amanda Porterfield, Robert A. Spivey Professor of Religion at Florida State University; Harry Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity at Yale University; and Grant Wacker, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Christian History at Duke Divinity School.

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