ASU Insight: The Future of Religious Studies

Harvey Cox - Harvard University

“For the last four decades, Harvey Cox has been the leading trend spotter in American religion.”—Stephen Prothero, author of "Religious Literacy"

Harvey Cox's book "The Secular City," first published in 1965, is an international bestseller and widely regarded as one of the most influential books of Protestant theology of the last 50 years. His research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of religion, culture, and politics. Until his retirement in 2009 from Harvard University, Cox taught extensively on the intersection between Christianity and Islam and the rise of fundamentalism in both religions. In his book "The Future of Faith" (2009) he explored Christianity's history and its trajectory, discussing the rise of fundamentalism in our ever-changing world and why he thinks it will ultimately fail. He examines three major periods in Christianity and argues that the world has entered "the era of the Spirit." He discusses what it means to be "religious" today, revealing how doctrines and dogma are giving way to new grassroots movements based in community, social justice, and spiritual experience.