Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226663852 Will Publish November 2019
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226663715 Will Publish November 2019
E-book $10.00 to $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226663999 Will Publish November 2019 Also Available From
E-book Retailers: B&N Nook Google Play Kobo Library Vendors: EBSCO

Imagining Judeo-Christian America

Religion, Secularism, and the Redefinition of Democracy

K. Healan Gaston

Imagining Judeo-Christian America

K. Healan Gaston

Publication supported by the Bevington Fund

368 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226663852 Will Publish November 2019
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226663715 Will Publish November 2019
E-book $10.00 to $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226663999 Will Publish November 2019
“Judeo-Christian” is a remarkably easy term to look right through. Judaism and Christianity obviously share tenets, texts, and beliefs that have strongly influenced American democracy. In this ambitious book, however, K. Healan Gaston challenges the myth of a monolithic Judeo-Christian America. She demonstrates that the idea is not only a recent and deliberate construct, but also a potentially dangerous one. From the time of its widespread adoption in the 1930s, the ostensible inclusiveness of Judeo-Christian terminology concealed efforts to promote particular conceptions of religion, secularism, and politics. Gaston also shows that this new language, originally rooted in arguments over the nature of democracy that intensified in the early Cold War years, later became a marker in the culture wars that continue today. She argues that the debate on what constituted Judeo-Christian—and American—identity has shaped the country’s religious and political culture much more extensively than previously recognized.
Introduction    Dreaming America, Deciphering Judeo-Christianity

Part 1          The Genesis of America’s Judeo-Christian Discourse

1                      From Hebraic-Hellenic to Judeo-Christian: The Roots of a Discourse
2                      A Protestant Nation No More: Facing Religious Diversity between the Wars
3                      Democracy’s Tradition: The Emergence of a Religio-Political Category, 1931–1942      

Part 2          Secularism and the Redefinition of Democracy

4                      The Flowering of a Discourse: Defending Democracy in Wartime America, 1942–1945
5                      From World War to Cold War: Judeo-Christian Exceptionalism Ascendant, 1945–1950
6                      Fighting Godless Communism: Religion and Secularism in Judeo-Christian America, 1950–1955

Part 3          From Tri-faith to Multireligious America

7                      Secularism Reconsidered: Finding Exceptionalism’s Limits, 1955–1965    
8                      Judeo-Christian Visions under Fire: New Patterns of Pluralism, 1965–1975
9                      Multireligious Possibilities: Judeo-Christian Discourse in a Multicultural Age

Conclusion      The Future of Judeo-Christian Discourse: Beyond Multireligious America?

Bibliographic Essay
Review Quotes
Samuel Moyn, Yale University
“In this long-awaited masterpiece, Gaston offers an extraordinary account of how the contested notion of Judeo-Christian America was formed and transformed. Thanks to astounding research and a compelling framework, she has made a permanent contribution to our understanding of the era straddling World War II, when the idea of Judeo-Christianity came into its own. A monumental achievement.”
Darren Dochuk, University of Notre Dame
“A breathtakingly innovative and expansive reappraisal of a political idiom at the center of this nation’s modern identity. With unmatched nuance and sophistication, Gaston shows how a concept of purported inclusivity has in fact fueled an unending battle over what the American religious character—and democracy itself—should look like. This is a masterful, paradigm-shifting work of history.”
Mark Silk, Trinity College
“A tour de force of intellectual, religious, cultural, and political history, Imagining Judeo-Christian America offers a profound new explanation of modern America. Gaston illuminates the critical shift from post–World War II Judeo-Christianism to the religious right’s adoption of Judeo-Christian language, which has shaped the culture wars of the last four decades.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Keep Informed