Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: How much money will it bring in? G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a nation with a soul of a church. At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one ather, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of ecomics. Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.
Jan Stievermann is Professor of the History of Christianity in North America at the University of Heidelberg. He has written on a broad range of topics in the fields of American religious history and American literature, including articles for Early American Literature, William and Mary Quarterly, and Church History. His book Der Sundenfall der Nachahmung: Zum Problem der Mittelbarkeit im Werk Ralph Waldo Emersons (2007 The Original Fall of Imitation: The Problem of Mediacy in the Works of R.W.E.) is a comprehensive study of the co-evolution of Emerson's religious and aesthetic thought. Together with Reiner Smolinski, he edited Cotton Mather and Biblia Americana-America's First Bible Commentary (2010). Philip Goff is Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University Indianapolis. The author or editor of over thirty volumes and nearly 200 articles or papers on religion in North America, he has since 2000 been co-editor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. His most recent edited volume, with Brian Steensland, is The New Evangelical Social Engagement (2013). Detlef Junker is the Founding Director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, a former Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C. (1991 - 1994) and a former Curt Engelhorn Chair in American History at Heidelberg University. He has published and edited books on American History, Transatlantic Relations, German History and on Theory of History in English and in German.