Stephen Prothero

147 Bay State Road, Suite 407
Boston, MA 02215
T: 617.353.4426; F: 617.358.3087
Spring 2020 Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 1:15pm-2:15pm and by appointment


Stephen Prothero is a C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell 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 bestseller 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 theNew 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 Report, The 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.

Visit his personal web site at or follow him on Twitter at sprothero.

Current CV


51y1N3HbSxL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage
By Stephen Prothero
January 2016
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Prothero_The American BibleThe American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation
By Stephen Prothero
May 30, 2012
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God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter
By Stephen Prothero
April 20, 2010
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Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — And Doesn’t By Stephen Prothero
March 1, 2007
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American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon
By Stephen Prothero
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition
December 15, 2003
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The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott (Religion in North America)
By Stephen Prothero
Indiana University Press
April 1, 1996
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Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History
By Stephen Prothero, Thomas A. Tweed
Oxford University Press
November 1, 1998
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Purified by Fire: A History of Cremation in America
By Stephen Prothero
University of California Press
November 4, 2002
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Religion Matters
By Stephen Prothero
W.W. Norton & Company
July 1, 2020
Buy it now from Norton!




  • RN 100 Introduction to Religion
  • RN 106 Death & Immortality
  • RN 111 Multireligious America
  • RN 121 Religion in America I
  • RN 122 Religion in America II
  • RN 312/612 Buddhism in America
  • RN 313/613 Hinduism in America
  • RN 427/727 Wandering as Practice and Play
  • RN 497/797 Topics in American Religion