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Mark Silk
Born (1950-05-12) May 12, 1950 (age 71)
InstitutionTrinity College (Connecticut) 1996-present
Religion News Service 1997-present
FieldReligion and Spiritual Politics
Alma materHarvard College (1972 AB) magna cum laude
Harvard University (1982 PhD)
AwardsBest Article of the Year, American Quarterly, 1984

Mark Silk is a Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), where he also serves as the Director the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. In addition, Silk is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service, specializing in Spiritual Politics.

Early life and education

He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 12, 1950 and graduated from Harvard College in 1972, magna cum laude. In 1982 he earned a Ph.D. in medieval history from Harvard. He was editor of the Boston Review from 1985 to 1986, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer, and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Silk is the author of Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II and Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America and co-editor of Religion by Region,[1] an eight-volume series on religion and public life in the United States,[2][3] and columnist for the Religion News Service.[1] With Andrew Walsh he wrote the series summary volume, One Nation Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics, published in hardcover in 2008 and in an undated paperback edition in 2011.

In the 1980s and 1990s Silk was a regular contributor to the New York Times, contributing essays and book reviews on feminist theology,[4] new religious movements,[5] Jewish identity, and other religion-related topics. [6] In 1984 he traced the use of "Judeo-Christian" in American culture.[7] In 1995 he argued that the American news media approach religion with certain Western religious preconceptions that do not always do justice to the varieties of religious belief and behavior.[8] In 2005, he traced the history of the idea of civil religion through changing views of the figure of Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome.[9] Since 2007 Silk has blogged about religion in public life at Spiritual Politics that began as "A blog on religion and the 2008 election campaign"[10] and is currently hosted at Religion News Service.[11]

Silk's areas of speciality include religion in America, religion and media, medieval history, and intellectual history of the West. As of 2021, Silk currently teaches Religion and American Politics and Religion and Climate Change at Trinity College.



  • Silk, Mark. “Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition in America,” American Quarterly 36, no.1(Spring 1984):65-85.
  • Silk, Mark. Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988).
  • Silk, Mark. Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995).
  • Silk, Mark. Co-editor, Religion by Region (series of volumes on religion and public life in each of eight regions of the United States, Lanham, Md.: Altamira Press, 2004-2006.
  • Silk, Mark. “Almost a Culture War: The Making of the Passion Controversy,” in Shawn Landres and Michael Berenbaum, eds., After The Passion is Gone: American Religious Consequences (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2004): 23-34.
  • Silk, Mark. “Numa Pompilius and the Idea of Civil Religion in the West,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 72, no. 4 (December 2004): 863-96.
  • Silk, Mark. “Why the Papers Love the Scrolls,” Dead Sea Discoveries 12, no. 1 (2005), 95-100.
  • Silk, Mark. “Religion and Region in American Public Life, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44, no. 3(2005): 265-70.
  • Silk, Mark. “Forum: Electronic Media and the Study of American Religion,” Religion and American Culture 16, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 13-18.
  • Silk, Mark. “John of Salisbury and the Civic Utility of Religion,” in Rachel Fulton and Bruce Holsinger, eds., History in the Comic Mode (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).


  1. ^ a b "Columns". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  2. ^ "Religion in the News  Current Staff". Religion in the News. Trinity College. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Front-page Religion, New York Times, 1988-4-3
  4. ^ Is God a feminist?, New York Times, 1982-4-11
  5. ^ Outsiders welcome, New York Times, 1989-6-18
  6. ^ Styles of Jewish Identity, New York Times, 1998-5-7
  7. ^ Silk, Mark (Spring 1984). "Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition in America". American Quarterly. 36 (1): 65–85. doi:10.2307/2712839. JSTOR 2712839.
  8. ^ Silk, Mark (1995). Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America. University of Illinois Press. pp. 91–106. ISBN 978-0-252-06742-6.
  9. ^ “Numa Pompilius and the Idea of Civil Religion in the West,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 72, no. 4 (December 2004), 863-96.
  10. ^ "Spiritual Politics". Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  11. ^ "Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Archives". Religion News Service. Retrieved September 13, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 February 2021, at 02:34
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