Stephen Prothero

Professor, Religion

Expertise:
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Education:

BA, Yale College
MA, PhD from Harvard University

Stephen Prothero is a Professor of Religion at Boston University specializing in American religions. He received his BA from Yale College in American Studies and his MA and PhD from Harvard University in the Study of Religion. A historian of American religions, Professor Prothero has written six books, including The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of… Read more

Stephen Prothero is a Professor of Religion at Boston University specializing in American religions. He received his BA from Yale College in American Studies and his MA and PhD from Harvard University in the Study of Religion.

A historian of American religions, Professor Prothero has written six books, including The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott (Indiana University Press, 1996), which won the Best First Book award of the American Academy of Religion in 1997, and American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), which was named one of the top religion books for 2003 by Publishers Weekly. His two most recent projects are The New York Times best-seller Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Knowand Doesn’t (HarperOne, 2007) and God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, 2010).

In addition to his scholarly work, which includes peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Prothero has written for a variety of popular magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, Slate, Salon, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. He has commented on religion on NPR and on such television programs as The Colbert ReportThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Today Show. He is also a regular contributor to CNN’s Belief Blog.

In the Media

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  • Hobby Lobby Bible course objective? Column

    May 11, 2014

    USA Today By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences On April 14, the school board in Mustang, Okla., voted to institute an elective Bible course. This is not news. More than a thousand U.S. public schools offer Bible as literature courses. But the curriculum for the Mustang course was developed by Steve Green, president of the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby craft […]

  • Opinion: On Easter, Jesus’ Evolution Tells of Changing America

    April 20, 2014

    National Geographic By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Every year, in the Christian calendar, Jesus is born (on Christmas), dies (on Good Friday), and rises from the dead (on Easter). But the popular persona of Jesus has also been born and born again over the course of American history… View full article by […]

  • Liberty versus liberty: religious freedom bills trouble gay rights supporters

    February 25, 2014

    Deseret News Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences As Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer weighs a decision whether to sign a bill strengthening the state’s religious liberty protections for individuals and businesses, her state is one of several wrestling with a balance between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws… Expert quote: “If the state or federal […]

  • Hindu fundamentalists vs. Hinduism: Column

    February 23, 2014

    USA Today By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences After the egging, the pulping. In London in 2003, a protester threw an egg at University of Chicago Sanskrit scholar Wendy Doniger, who was lecturing on the popular Hindu epic the Ramayana… View full article by expert Stephen Prothero

  • A Cage-Fighting Christ for Our Time

    December 13, 2013

    Wall Street Journal (subscription required) By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Are the culture wars over?… View full article

  • Navy Yard shooting puts Buddhism in spotlight: Column

    September 18, 2013

    USA Today By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences When we think of Buddhism we don’t usually think of a man with a gun… View full article

  • A Church That Embraces All Religions and Rejects ‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’

    July 12, 2013

    New York Times Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Clad in proper Pacific Northwest flannel, toting a flask of “rocket fuel” coffee typical of Starbucks’ home turf, Steven Greenebaum rolled his Prius into a middle school parking lot one Sunday morning last month… Expert quote: “This strikes me as a kind of institutionalization of […]

  • My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna

    May 21, 2013

    CNN.com “Belief Blog” By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences At first glance, it would seem that the town of Greece, New York, has been brazenly violating the First Amendment… View full article

  • My Take: Nothing wrong with Nazi assignment

    April 13, 2013

    CNN.com “Belief Blog” By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences School officials in Albany, New York, are racing to control the damage after a teacher at Albany High School gave students a persuasive writing assignment that challenged them to defend the proposition that “Jews are evil.”… View full article

  • My Take: The Empathy President gives an empathy speech

    March 24, 2013

    CNN.com “Belief Blog” By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences In religious studies courses, professors often try to get their students to see the world through Hindu eyes or to walk a few miles in the shoes of a Confucian… View full article

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