The Religion and American History Blog recently posted an interview with Chris Beneke, co-editor with Christopher S. Grenda of The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America. In the Q & A with Randall Stephens, Beneke discusses the themes of the historical essay collection and how they relate to contemporary political and religious debates in the United States.
"The First Prejudice supplies a broader (if I were immodest, Randall, I would say 'essential') context for historians who are looking at the intentions of the founders and the political, cultural, and juridical legacies that developed thereafter," says Beneke.
[The First Prejudice] provides just the kind of first-class scholarly analysis that one would hope for, and will be an absolutely essential text for university libraries. Perhaps most importantly, the editors don't try to elide or explain away the differing arguments put forth by the various authors, but include a sterling introduction which explains and sets in context some of the major debates in this field.
Harvey also gives a "shout out" to Penn Press for publishing other studies of religion in America's politics and past, such as Bodies of Belief: Baptist Community in Early America, W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet, and Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South.