Stephen J. Stein

Stephen J. Stein

Chancellor's Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1970

About Stephen J. Stein

I study and write about the history of religion in American culture across the full chronological range of American history. I have taught survey courses on religion in both early and modern America as well as classes on such topics as “New Religious Movements,” “The Cult Controversy,” and “Religion and Violence” and seminars focused on “Eighteenth-Century Religion,” “Jonathan Edwards,” and “Religion and Region.” I served as an Adjunct Professor in both the American Studies Program and the Department of History at Indiana University. My interests in early America have focused on the eighteenth century and New England with special attention to the figure of the New England minister and theologian, Jonathan Edwards about whom I have written extensively. I have edited three volumes in the Yale University Press edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards. I have also edited two volumes of critical essays dealing with all aspects of Edwards’s life and thought.

My research interests in alternative religious movements have ranged widely, from a comprehensive history of the Shakers to a general account of the impact of dissenting religious communities. I have concentrated special attention on apocalyptic and eschatological themes found throughout these religious movements. I served as President of the American Society of Church History in 1994. I am coeditor with Catherine L. Albanese of a publication series on “Religion in North America” published by Indiana University Press. I am a Content Advisor on “Free Exercise” for the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia. I serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, New York. I am a coeditor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation published by The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. I am the General Editor for a planned three-volume work to be published by Cambridge University Press entitled The Cambridge History of Religions in America. It is my considered judgment that greater scholarly attention needs to be paid to the globalization of American religion taking place in contemporary America.


The Cambridge History of Religions in America, 3 Volume Set edited by Stephen Stein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

The “Blank Bible,” vol. 24, Parts 1 and 2, in the Yale Edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006)

The Continuum History of Apocalypticism, edited by Bernard McGinn, John J. Collins, and Stephen J. Stein (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003)

Communities of Dissent: A History of Alternative Religions in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Alternative American Religions, in "Religion in American Life" series (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)

Apocalypticism in the Modern Period and the Contemporary Age, vol 3 in The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, edited by John J. Collins, Bernard McGinn, and Stephen J. Stein (New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1998)

Notes on Scripture, vol.15 in the Yale Edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998)

The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Text, Context, Interpretation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996)

The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992 [cloth], 1994 [paper])

Letters from a Young Shaker: William S. Byrd at Pleasant Hill (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1985)

Apocalyptic Writings, vol. 5 in the Yale Edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977)

Recent articles & other publications

"Gender and Authority: Women in Shaker History," forthcoming in Rivista di Storia del Cristianesimo

"Historical Reflections on Mormon Futures," The Tanner Lecture, Journal of Mormon History, 33, no. 1 (Spring 2007), 39-64

"'Taking up the Full Cross’: The Shaker Challenge to the Western Christians," Discipliana: The Quarterly Historical Journal of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society 65, no. 3 (Fall 2005), 93-110

"American Millennial Visions: Toward Construction of a New Architectonic of American Apocalypticism," Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from the Ancient Middle East to Modern America, Abbas Amanat and Magnus T. Bernhardsson, eds., (London: Palgrave, 2001), 187-211

"Religion/Religions in the United States: Changing Perspectives and Prospects," Indiana Law Journal 75, no. 1 (2000), 37-60

"America’s Bibles: Canon, Commentary, and Community," Church History 64 (1995), 169-185

Awards & Honors

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships, 1974-75, 1985-86
  • Indiana University Distinguished Teaching Awards, 1981
  • Indiana University College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award, 1991
  • President of the American Society of Church History, 1994
  • Chancellor’s Professorship in Teaching and Research, 1995
  • Indiana University's Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, 1995
  • Indiana University Trustees Award for Teaching Excellence, 2003