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What Would Jesus Read? – Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America

Erin A. Smith


Since the late nineteenth century, religiously-themed books in America have been commercially popular yet scorned by critics. Working at the intersection of literary history, lived religion, and consumer culture, this book considers the largely unexplored world of popular religious books, examining the apparent tension between economic and religious imperatives for authors, publishers, and readers. The book argues that this literature served as a form of extra-ecclesiastical ministry and credits the popularity and longevity of religious books to their day-to-day usefulness rather than their th ... More

Keywords: religious books, authors, publishers, readers, extra-ecclesiastical ministry, literary history, religion, consumer culture, popular religious books

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9781469621326
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621326.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Erin A. Smith, author

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Part I The Social Gospel and the Literary Marketplace

Part II The 1920s Religious Renaissance

Part III America’s God and Cold War Religious Reading

Part IV Reading the Apocalypse: Christian Bookselling in the 1970s and 1980s

Part V The Decade of the Soul: The 1990s and Beyond