Historians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity
Historians of religion face complex interpretive issues when examining religious texts, practices, and experiences. Faithful Narratives presents the work of twelve eminent scholars whose research has exemplified compelling strategies for negotiating the difficulties inherent in this increasingly important area of historical inquiry. The chapters range chronologically from Late Antiquity to modern America and thematically from the spirituality of near eastern monks to women’s agency in religion, considering familiar religious communities alongside those on the margins and bringing a range of spiritual and religious practices into historical focus.Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the essays address matters central to the study of religion in history, in particular texts and traditions of authority, interreligious discourse, and religious practice and experience. Some examine mainstream communities and traditions, others explore individuals who crossed religious or confessional boundaries, and still others study the peripheries of what is considered orthodox religious tradition. Encompassing a wide geographical as well as chronological scope, Faithful Narratives illustrates the persistence of central themes and common analytical challenges for historians working in all periods.Contributors: Peter Brown, Princeton University; Nina Caputo, University of Florida; Carlos Eire, Yale University; Susanna Elm, University of California, Berkeley; Anthony Grafton, Princeton University; Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College; Phyllis Mack, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Kenneth Mills, University of Toronto; David Nirenberg, University of Chicago; Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame; David B. Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania; Lamin Sanneh, Yale University; Andrea Sterk, University of Florida; John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame.
Nina Caputo is Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. She is the author of Nahmanides in Medieval Catalonia: Community, History, and Messianism.