Religious Magazines

Keeping the Faith

Authored by: Ken Waters

The Routledge Handbook of Magazine Research

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138854161
eBook ISBN: 9781315722283
Adobe ISBN: 9781317524533


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For centuries religious publications in the English-speaking world have played an important role in periodical publishing, helping believers define their faith and share common interests and dialogue about their relationship to mainstream culture. Through news and feature articles, editorials and commentaries, these typically small-circulation magazines aimed at educated, but non-scholarly audiences have entered into national debates about slavery, prohibition, personal piety, doctrine and theology, science, abortion, gay marriage and a variety of other human and civil rights issues. Despite their longevity, “Writings on the American religious press are far from numerous or satisfactory. To a great extent this field still awaits exploration by secular and church historians.” 1 Church historian Martin Marty once referred to U.S. Protestant publications as vibrant, but invisible. 2 Heather Hendershot notes, “[M]any [Christian] films, books, videos, magazines and other cultural products have until now received only scant scholarly attention… .” 3 These observations about the paucity of scholarly attention to religious publications pertain only to North American magazines. Much less research has been conducted on religious publications in other parts of the world.

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