The three volumes of The Cambridge History of Religions in America trace the historical development of religious traditions in America, following both their transplantation from other parts of the world and the inauguration of new religious movements on the continent of North America. This history shows complex relationships among these religious communities as well as the growth of distinctive theological ideas and religious practices. The result of this development in North America is a rich religious culture that includes representatives of most of the world's religions. Volume 1 extends chronologically from prehistoric times until 1790, a date linked to the formation of the United States as a nation. Volume 2 focuses on the time period from 1790 until 1945. Volume 3 examines the religious situation in the United States from the end of the Second World War to the second decade of the twenty-first century, contextualized in the larger North American continental context.
Stephen J. Stein received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1970 and subsequently taught in Indiana University's Department of Religious Studies for 35 years. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including two from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1994, he served as the President of the American Society of Church History. In 1995, Stein received the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research at Indiana University. He edited three volumes in The Works of Jonathan Edwards. He also edited The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards. Stein's volume, The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers, was awarded the Philip Schaff Prize by the American Society of Church History in 1994. He is a historical advisor on The Joseph Smith Papers and a co-editor of the journal Religion and American Culture.