Book Review: Religion and the Marketplace in the United States by Jan Stievermann, Philip Goff, & Detlef Junker.

AuthorGrifth, Jordan
PositionBook review

Stievermann, Jan, Philip Goff, and Detlef Junker, eds. Religion and the Marketplace in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xiv + 295 pages. Paperback, $35.00.

Religion and the Marketplace in the United States is a compilation of essays concerning the correlation of religion in the United States and American economics. Observing patterns over time, the writers and editors of these essays compare megachurch structures, training and administration, to economic shifts and public data such as statistics, in order to argue their main point--religion resembles the marketplace. The thesis of this work is to examine the parallel between the capitalist economy of the United States and contemporary religions, and the book shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another.

The authors take a historic look at the expansion and changes in religion in America, from the Industrial Revolution to today's era. They provide statistics of adherence to religiosity, church attendance, and the evolution of youth ministries, as well as the separation of church and state, as a direct correlation of a flourishing religion-based economy. One historic event of interest includes the Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s, and the influence that such a religious revitalization movement had on prominent businessmen of the day. As entrepreneurs traveled for business, the authors argued, they took on a striking evangelical aura, encouraging business associates and customers to look into spiritual matters. The authors note that religion sells well in America, and it has done so through all ages of the nation's existence. In fact, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as...

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