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Religious Plots

Historians tell stories. The really good ones can turn their theses, their heaps of evidence, and their historiographic concerns into literary narratives that vibrate with the kind of energy we usually associate with novels, memoirs, or the types of nonfiction titles on the best-seller lists. There is a style to good history writing, and that style does work. This course is about understanding the ways in which literary style—choices about plot, character, narrative trajectory, and point of view—shapes the writing of serious religious history. As we will see, religions and religious people offer historians the most compelling and difficult subjects for writing true stories about the past.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Joshua Guthman

Berea College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

English, History

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition


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