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BOOK REVIEWS107 Reflections ofFaith: Houses of Worship in the Lone Star State. By Willard B. Robinson, with the Assistance of Jean M. Robinson. (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press. 1994. Pp. xxii, 268. $45.00.) This beautifully illustrated and clearly written volume is a brilliant contribution to the religious historiography ofTexas. With this effort the late author has left a profound testimony not only to religion in Texas, but to his own stature as having been one of Texas' most prominent students of religious architecture. In no other book can the observer of the Christian and Judaic legacy in Texas see the faith of those peoples—from an architectural perspective—more profoundly depicted. While other religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, and even non-doctrinal Unitarianism, are represented in Willard's study, as would be expected their histories in the spiritual life of Texas fail to attract the attention that the Christians—Catholics and Protestants alike—andJews do. Divided into five lengthy chapters buttressed by three hundred illustrations, mostly photographs, Reflections ofFaith reveals to the casual reader and the scholar as well how Christians andJewish peoples centered much of their religious profundity on the construction of churches and synagogues. Kneaded through each chapter is a fascinating narrative of the emergence of the multifarious ethnic and national identities that came to make up the citizenry of the Lone Star State, showing how such was interconnected with the historical maturation ofTexas. In the context of that, the author focused on the construction not only of the most well-known churches and synagogues in Texas, but of the less famous ones as well. Here one can find, for example, historic Catholic churches such as San Antonio 's La Iglesia de Misión San Antonio de Valero (better known to history as the Alamo), la Misión de San José de San Miguel de Aguayo (queen of the Texas missions and established under the leadership of Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús), and San Fernando Church (later Cathedral); Galveston's St. Mary's Cathedral (Texas' first diocese after independence); and Panna Maria's Church of the Immaculate Conception, which Polish immigrants to Panna Maria erected shortly after their arrival in 1854. But many others, such as the Chapel of Loretto Academy in El Paso, too are represented. Strangely, St. Patrick's Cathedral of Fort Worth, one of Texas' proudest Gothic churches, is absent from Robinson's pages. A similar focus in the history of their religious edifices can be seen in the Protestant andJewish worlds of Texas. Robinson's five chapters trace the religious story in Texas from its roots found in the mission establishments of the Spanish and Mexican Franciscan friars to the present day. In chapter one,"Iglesias Hispánicas" Robinson lays that Franciscan Catholic base, wherein not only is the Catholic faith that the Franciscans brought to Texas discussed, but also key historical developments featuring prominent personages emerge as well as economic, social, and political realities as the Hispanic Catholic account matures. Chapter two, "Antebellum Churches," introduces Protestant churches to the Texas scene. Then, from 108BOOK REVIEWS chapters three through five respectively, "Victorian Elegance," "Stately Formality ," and "Modern Aesthetics," the drama continues to unfold. That all ofthis history is presented within the milieu of telling the story of architectural evolution in Texas' churches and synagogues is a compliment to the knowledge and talent that WUlard B. Robinson had. Reflections of Faith: Houses of Worship in the Lone Star State is a tome that any student of the religious development ofTexas should study seriously. Patrick Foley Editor, Catholic Southwest American Originals: Homemade Varieties ofChristianity. By Paul K. Conkin. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1997. Pp. xvii, 336. $55.00 hardcover; $18.95 paperback.) Religious liberty not only keeps denominations from shooting each other, but it also clears and fertilizes the ground so that new religions may sprout and grow. This is especially true where, as in the United States, no lengthy tradition of a national church leaves a heavy heritage that retards or restrains. Innovation conquers inertia. With great skill, Paul Conkin ofVanderbilt University plows this fertile soil of religious novelty in America. Limiting himself to Christianity—which for most of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 107-108
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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