D. Michael LindsayApril 3, 2007 - 8:20am0 comments
The Robert Bellah Reader
Edited by Robert N. Bellah and Steven M. Tipton
Duke University Press, $27.95, 555 pp.
Few runs in American intellectual life can rival the long and prolific career of sociologist Robert Bellah. Author of more than three hundred books, articles, essays, and reviews, Bellah has spread his ideas far and wide: more than seven thousand scholarly articles cite his work, in scores of journals-from anthropology to theology, law to economics-all over the world. His accomplishments have received significant attention both within the academy and in the wider society, where he is known for such works of popular sociology as Habits of the Heart. Bellah recently turned eighty-in 2000, he received the National Humanities Medal-and Duke University Press has now brought out The Robert Bellah Reader, reflecting the breadth and depth of his work over half a century as a scholar, teacher, and public intellectual.
Edited by Bellah and longtime collaborator Steven M. Tipton, the collection draws from four areas that have engaged the author throughout his career. Bellah started out as a comparativist, examining the role of religion in places like Japan and the American Southwest, and he has continued in this vein for many years, drawing on the influence of such diverse thinkers as Jean Jacques Rousseau, H. Richard Niebuhr, and Jürgen Habermas. Part 1 of the Reader points to his forty-year interest in addressing big questions, such as the relationship between the active and contemplative parts of life, and between...