from its earliest settlement to contemporary times, is the first coherent history of American religious thought and practice within the context,of politics. Kelly sets forth a chronology and topology of the patterns of collaboration, competition, and interaction of politics and religion in America.
In the United States the pathological features of politics and religion-and their decline of power and virtue-seem more closely linked in time and substance than elsewhere. Kelly concentrates on the implications of the following issues: the distinction between the sacred and the profane; a reevaluation of Tocqueville's analysis; the competitive and coalescent qualities of Calvinist and Arminian doctrines; an interpretation of sectarianism and cultism; a dissection of the meanings of American providentialism; an application of Weberian theory of the Protestant ethic to American religion and politics; a critique of the modern notion of "civil religion"; and an analytical investigation of religious and political modes of conviction.
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About the Author
George Armstrong Kelly (1932-1987) was a visiting professor of humanities and political science at Johns Hopkins University from 1980 until 1987, taught for many years at Harvard and Brandeis, chaired the Seminar in Political and Social Thought at Columbia University, and was a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Among his many books are Idealism, Politics and History: Sources of Hegelian Thought and Lost Soldiers: The French Army and Empire in Crisis, 1947-1962. Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of several books, including Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought and Augustine and the Limits of Politics.