The Journal of Religious History 1960–2010: The Changing Face of Religious History over Fifty Years



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    1. University of New South Wales
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    • This article draws on contributions to a symposium on the history of the journal held at the University of Sydney at a function in February 2009 marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association for the JRH and I am grateful to those who took part.

John Gascoigne is a professor of history at the University of New South Wales. He is the current Chair of the Association for the Journal of Religious History, and was the reviews editor from 1996 to 1999 as well as the editor from 2000 to 2003.


The fiftieth anniversary of this journal offers an opportunity to reflect on both its history and that of the larger field of religious history. At its foundation, the journal drew inspiration from the approach to the history of religion taken by Lucien Febvre and other French Annalistes, with their emphasis on including religion as an integral part of the analysis of the past. Though the journal continued to publish a good deal of ecclesiastical history as more traditionally understood, these founding ideals have continued to shape the character of the journal. The increasing interest in the history of mentalities (partly due to the decline of Marxist historiography) has heightened an interest in the history of religion in ways which have proved increasingly congruent with the journal's founding ideals.