S. Brent Plate, PhD, is a writer, public speaker, editor, and part time college professor whose books include "A History of Religion in 5 1/2 Objects," "Blasphemy: Art that Offends," and "Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World." His essays have been published in The Christian Century, The Islamic Monthly, Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, and elsewhere. He is a board member of the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica, NY, and Executive Director of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life and Editor of the journal CrossCurrents. He is associate professor, by special appointment, at Hamilton College, NY.
A History of Religion in 5 1/2 Objects: Bringing the Spiritual to its Senses
In A History of Religion in 5½ Objects Brent Plate explores the objects of everyday existence, and shows how these offer a window into the way humans have formed religious communities, performed rituals, and connected with the realm of the sacred. Plate tells the stories of five types of ordinary objects that people have engaged in sensory, symbolic, and sacred ways: stones, incense, drums, crosses, and bread. As Plate looks at each of these objects, drawing on insights from poets as well as philosophers, modern artists as well as anthropologists, jazz as well as literature, he traces the history of the world’s religions and finds remarkable similarities and recurring themes throughout the millennia.
A History of Religion in 5½ Objects moves our understanding of religion away from the current obsessions with God, fundamentalism, and science. Religion, Plate shows, has more to do with our bodies than with our beliefs.
Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World2017
Blasphemy: Art that Offends2006
Awards and Recognition
- American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2021 (calendar year)
- American Philosophical Society - Franklin Research Grant, 2013
- American Academy of Religion research grant, 2009