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 Know—and 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.

In the Media

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  • Religious Liberty: Freedom of – and from – Religion

    June 20, 2017

    Washington Post LIVE featuring Stephen Prothero, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences View full video. 

  • Column: Teaching students to appreciate a world of religions and resist intolerance

    April 25, 2017

    PBS Newshour Stephen Prothero, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences “Events like the closing of schools in Virginia’s Augusta County over a world history lesson about Islam in 2015, or the common misconception that Sikhs are Muslims, illustrate the importance of teaching religion in public schools — and some of the controversies that come with […]

  • Mis)Understanding the Elites

    February 22, 2017

    WNYC Stephen Prothero, College of Arts and Sciecnes At a press conference on Thursday, President Trump was openly dismissive of elites in the media, in politics, and in intelligence circles… Listen to audio here

  • Huston Smith, Author of ‘The World’s Religions,’ Dies at 97

    January 3, 2017

    New York Times Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Huston Smith, a renowned scholar of religion who pursued his own enlightenment in Methodist churches, Zen monasteries and even Timothy Leary’s living room, died on Friday at his home in Berkeley, Calif… Expert quote: “It is the most important book in comparative religious studies ever.” […]

  • Academia wrestles anew with how freely words can flow

    September 14, 2016

    Boston Globe Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences When the University of Chicago recently came out against the use of so-called “trigger warnings,” saying they represented a danger to campus free speech, it represented something of a rarity… Expert quote: “The [fear] is that ‘Oh, God, all of a sudden we have censorship at […]

  • How Trigger Warnings Silence Religious Students

    August 31, 2016

    The Atlantic Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Last week, the University of Chicago’s dean of students sent a welcome letter to freshmen decrying trigger warnings and safe spaces—ways for students to be warned about and opt out of exposure to potentially challenging material… Expert quote: As the Boston University professor Stephen Prothero put […]

  • No U.S. burkini bans, but work yet to do

    August 26, 2016

    USA Today By Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences The world has had lots to say about 15 French towns that banned the full-body burkini swimsuit worn by some Muslim women… View full article here

  • Christian tourism: When business and religion collide

    June 23, 2016

    Cincinnati Enquirer Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences In less than two weeks, tourists can board a life-sized recreation of Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky, a tourist attraction advertised as the closest to the legendary ship of the Bible that modern civilization can build… Expert quote: “When it comes to evangelism, there is always a tension between being […]

  • 2016: The end of the culture wars as we know them

    May 11, 2016

    Newsweek Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences From Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s standpoint, the political stars couldn’t have aligned much better over the past year… Expert quote: “It’s not that Trump is not a culture warrior. My God, he’s a classic culture warrior.” View full article

  • Trump’s Indiana win raises unsettling questions for GOP

    May 4, 2016

    Christian Science Monitor Stephen Prothero, College of Arts & Sciences Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Tuesday, winning the Indiana primary as Ted Cruz dropped out. It punctuates the power of the populist rebellion against the GOP elite… View full article quoting expert Stephen Prothero  

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