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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 Willard 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 the nation's history is no severe restriction—he classifies the "originals" according to the following types: restoration (Christians and Disciples), humanistic (Unitarian and Universalist), apocalyptic (Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses), Mormons, spiritualist (Christian Science and Unity), and ecstatic (Holiness and Pentecostal). These groups, he explains, are more than simply schisms or separations, ofwhich it would be difficult for anyone to keep count. They are, rather, "new departures in basic doctrines and practices" (p. x). The author has also chosen to concentrate on "the largest and most influential" innovations , believing that in his six types he can find "well over 90 per cent of Americans who have embraced new or original forms of Christianity" (p. viii). Conkin cannot hope to present a full history of each representative of his six types. Rather, he concentrates on the early years of each body and the role of the founders or the fresh voices. His careful "reading guides," however, enable the interested student to pursue a far more detailed examination. These six chatty bibliographies are up to date and useful. They are designed, moreover, not to show how much the author has read, but how much the non-expert can call upon for guidance and help. Conkin writes with empathy and insight, though he has wisely called upon a few members of the groups under discussion for comment and correction.Yet, to the whole he gives his own interpretive "spin." In his afterword, he looks for commonalities within what is admittedly a disparate assembly, but he does not BOOK REVIEWS109 press too hard to find agreements where none exist. He sees his "originals" as resembling each other chiefly in what they reacted against, and in their accommodations , conscious or not, to the demands, needs, and desires of nineteenthcentury Americans. Edwin S. Gaustad University ofCalifornia, Riverside Primitivist Piety: The Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren. By James Patrick Callahan. [Studies in Evangelicalism. Volume 12.] (Lanham, Maryland : The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1997. Pp. xix, 287. $48.00.) In this study based on his doctoral work at Marquette Universityjames Callahan presents an intricate yet fascinating picture of the essence of Plymouth Brethren self-identity in the early 1800's. Scholars have often characterized the group as restorationist or primitivist, using the terms interchangeably. The author insists that such an analysis fails to discern an important conflict in Brethren thought between primitivism and restorationism. Callahan follows an introductory historiographical essay with four heavily documented chapters in which he briefly chronicles the early formation of the group, its place both among and against other British dissenters, and its role in British millenarianism and prophecy conferences. Ernest Sandeen characterized the Plymouth Brethren, particularly as seen in the theology ofJohn Nelson Darby, as a dispensational premillennial sect. One of Callahan's contributions in the book is to demonstrate that the group's primitivist ecclesiology, founded on a literalist reading of the New Testament, was responsible for Brethren eschatology rather than vice versa. The major argument ofthe book, however, is found in chapters six and seven. Here the author carefully delineates Brethren ideas of...


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