Notable Reviews of 2022

From AAR's Reading Religion

Reading Religion is an open book review website published by the American Academy of Religion. The site provides up-to-date coverage of scholarly publishing in religious studies, reviewed by scholars with special interest and/or expertise in the relevant subfields. Reviews aim to be concise, comprehensive, and timely.

Below, the editors of Reading Religion have selected some notable reviews from the site, published last year. If you’re interested in reviewing books for Reading Religion, take a look at the guidelines. If there are any books missing from the Reading Religion site that you think should be there, email [email protected].


Father James Page: An Enslaved Preacher's Climb to Freedom

By Larry Eugene Rivers

Excerpt: “Rivers’ impeccably written biography is an impressive undertaking that required years of archival digging and a careful examination . . . [this book] models the practice of vivifying overlooked historical figures on the page, making formative contributions to the fields of Baptist denominational history and African American religious history.” - Mélena Laudig


Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels

By Tony Keddie

Excerpt: “Republican Jesus is a book with an attitude. . . . Keddie’s book makes an accessible, well-written, witty, and utterly convincing case for scholarship on the (often dangerous) politics of biblical citation in the US.” - Jay Twomey


Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania

By Sarah Justina Eyerly

Excerpt: “This is a remarkable book that is a testimony to the possibilities of multimedia and multimodal methodologies for historical research. It is also richly interdisciplinary, and will be of value to historians of music, religion, and American culture.” - Martin V. Clarke


I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation

By Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Excerpt: “Walker-Barnes' writing, research, and conclusions are impeccable and powerful. Rather than bifurcating human reality and denying the connectedness between religions and politics, she engages all aspects of life in the United States. . . . [This book] is a must-read for anyone committed to pastoral care, to racial reconciliation, to the practice of justice, to exposing gendered racism, and to working for a beloved community.” – Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan


The Lonely Letters

By Ashon T. Crawley

Excerpt: “You give in. You’re caught up. You’re invested. You know it now: the entire book—everything, even the vulnerable discussions of loneliness—all of it is in service of cultivating joy and intimacy and noncoercive relation.” - Biko Gray


Ummah: A New Paradigm for a Global World

By Katrin A. Jomaa

Excerpt: “At its core, Jomaa’s scholarship innovatively re-imagines what it means to be a member of the ummah in the contemporary, ultimately offering a new global paradigm for performing community in in the twenty-first century.” - Marcus Timothy Haworth


Say What Your Longing Heart Desires: Women, Prayer, and Poetry in Iran

By Niloofar Haeri

Excerpt: “. . . [A] brilliant and meticulous volume, Niloofar Haeri offers both specialists and a more general audience a view into the experiences of Shi’a Muslim women in Iran who negotiate their complex relationships with God using prayer, poetry, and companionship in a nuanced fashion.” - Candace Mixon





Faith, Power, and Family: Christianity and Social Change in French Cameroon

By Charlotte Walker-Said

Excerpt: “[The] stories—often of married couples struggling to meet all the pressures upon their lives—are what make the book hold together; it’s what makes this study so moving.” - Paul Glen Grant





The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance

By Leah DeVun

Excerpt: “This book is, to put it simply, a revelation. In our current moment, when the rights of those of us who do not fit societal bodily, gender, and sexual norms are dwindling, this book feels frighteningly relevant . . .” - Jeannie Sellick





The Sex Obsession: Perversity and Possibility in American Politics

By Janet R. Jakobsen

Excerpt: “Feminist and queer scholarship in religious studies will undoubtedly benefit immensely from Jakobsen’s kaleidoscopic approach to what sex and religion have to contribute to the project of imagining and materializing alternative worlds.” – Wendy Mallette





The Boggart: Folklore, History, Place-Names and Dialect

By Simon Young

Excerpt: “[This book] is well written, with light touches of humor that make this a compelling and enjoyable read. Given both this and the quality of the research underlying it, the book represents a stellar study of British popular belief that should be seen as an exemplar for future works on similar topics.” - Ethan Doyle White





Catholicity and Emerging Personhood: A Contemporary Theological Anthropology

By Daniel P. Horan

Excerpt: [Horan’s] attempt to offer an alternative mode of theological reflection is commendable for more than just its synthesis of diverse interlocutors and inclusive perspective, however—it pushes the discipline not to make the human person a ‘theological abstraction’ but instead to reflect actual human experience, as this study itself exemplifies.” - Dante J. Clementi