God and the Atlantic
America, Europe, and the Religious Divide
By Thomas Albert Howard
(Oxford University Press, USA, Paperback, 9780199671304, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Accessing the topic though nineteenth and early twentieth-century European commentary on the United States, Thomas Albert Howard argues that an 'Atlantic gap' in religious matters has deep and complex historical roots, and enduringly informs some strands of European disapprobation of the United States. While exploring in the first chapters 'Old World' disquiet toward the young republic's religious dynamics, the book turns in the final chapters and focuses on more constructive European assessments of the United States. Acknowledging the importance of Alexis de Tocqueville for the topic, Howard argues that a widespread overreliance on Tocqueville as interpreter of America has had a tendency to overshadow other noteworthy European voices. Two underappreciated figures here receive due attention: the Protestant Swiss-German church historian, Philip Schaff, and the French Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain.
While the transatlantic religious divide has received commentary from journalists and sociologists in recent decades, this is the first major work of cultural and intellectual history devoted to the subject.