The Folk Religion of White Middle America with Arthur E. Farnsley II | Hartford Seminary

The Folk Religion of White Middle America with Arthur E. Farnsley II

Arthur E. Farnsley II

Adam and Eve were real people.  Humans were created some time in the past 10,000 years.  The Book of Revelation foretells the future.

We often associate such beliefs with fundamentalist churches, imagining these ideas correspond to a rigid ideology about race, gender, and politics. But in fact, folk religion often floats free from institutions or from any religious participation at all.

Drawing from decades of personal experience and dozens of structured interviews with flea market dealers, Art Farnsley reflects on the ways people use folk religion to frame their experience and to locate their chaotic lives in a complex world. He considers the difficulties in building a civil society among citizens who have such different views about very basic concepts of truth or morality.

Please join us for this special opportunity to hear the author of Flea Market Jesus.


About the Speaker

Arthur E. Farnsley II is research professor and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI.  He was research director of the $8 million Project on Religion and Urban Culture, has held two teaching grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was Executive Officer of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion from 2007-2016.

His first book was Southern Baptist Politics.   Subsequent books include Rising Expectations: Urban Congregations, Welfare Reform, and Civic Life and Sacred Circles, Public Squares: The Multicentering of American Religion. In 2012 he published Flea Market Jesus about religious individualism.  His stories about flea markets appeared on the cover of both Christianity Today and Christian Century magazines.  He was also co-editor of the 2017 volume, The Bible in American Life, published by Oxford University Press.

Art’s degrees are from Wabash College, Yale Divinity School, and Emory University.


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