Robert Neelly Bellah
Robert Neelly Bellah (born February 23, 1927) is an American sociologist, now the Elliott Professor of Sociology, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, who is known for his work related to the sociology of religion. Bellah is perhaps best known for his work related to American civil religion, a term which he coined in a 1967 article that has since gained widespread attention among scholars.
Bellah's magnum opus, Religion In Human Evolution, traces the biological and cultural origins of religion and the interplay between the two. Philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote of the work: "This great book is the intellectual harvest of the rich academic life of a leading social theorist who has assimilated a vast range of biological, anthropological, and historical literature in the pursuit of a breathtaking project... In this field I do not know of an equally ambitious and comprehensive study." Bellah is also known for his 1985 book Habits of the Heart, which discusses how religion contributes to and detracts from America's common good, and for his studies of religious and moral issues and their connection to society.
Born in Altus, Oklahoma, Bellah received a B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1950, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1955. He was a student of Talcott Parsons, sociologist at Harvard and he and Parsons remained intellectual friends until Parsons' death in 1979. Parsons was specially interested in Bellah's concept of religious evolution and the concept of "Civil Religion." While an undergraduate at Harvard, he was a member of the Communist Party USA and chairman of the John Reed Club, "a recognized student organization concerned with the study of Marxism." Dean McGeorge Bundy threatened to withdraw his fellowship if he did not provide the names of his former associates. He served in various positions at Harvard from 1955 to 1967 when he took the position of Ford Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He spent the remainder of his career at Berkeley.
His political views are often classified as communitarian.
He is author, editor, co-author, or co-editor of the following books:
- Tokugawa Religion: The Values of Pre-Industrial Japan (1957)
- Religion and Progress in Modern Asia (1965)
- Beyond Belief: Essays on Religion in a Post-Traditional World (1970)
- Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society (1973)
- The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial (1975)
- The New Religious Consciousness (1976)
- Varieties of Civil Religion (1980)
- Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (1985)
- Uncivil Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America (1987)
- The Good Society (1991)
- Imagining Japan: The Japanese Tradition and its Modern Interpretation (2003)
- The Robert Bellah Reader (2006)
- Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (2011)
- The Axial Age and Its Consequences (2012)
Awards and honors 
Bellah was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1967. He received the National Humanities Medal in 2000 from President Bill Clinton, in part for "his efforts to illuminate the importance of community in American society." In 2007, he received the American Academy of Religion Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.
- Bellah, Robert Neelly (Winter 1967). "Civil Religion in America". Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 96 (1): 1–21. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. From the issue entitled Religion in America.
- Andre, Claire; Manuel Velasquez. "Creating the Good Society". Santa Clara University. Retrieved 2008-05-05. "The social problems confronting us today, the authors argue, are largely the result of failures of our institutions, and our response, largely the result of our failure to realize the degree to which our lives are shaped by institutional forces and the degree to which we, as a democratic society, can shape these forces for the better."
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
See also 
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Robert Neelly Bellah|
- Bill Moyers PBS interview with Bellah
- Robert Bellah's Official website
- Biographical statement on Bellah's website
- Works by or about Robert Neelly Bellah in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Recent Biographical Article
- The Immanent Frame a blog with posts by Bellah, Charles Taylor (philosopher), and others
- Bortolini, Matteo (2012). "The trap of intellectual success. Robert N. Bellah, the American civil religion debate, and the sociology of knowledge". Theory & Society 41 (2): 187–210.
- Bortolini, Matteo (2011). "The "Bellah Affair" at Princeton. Scholarly excellence and academic freedom in America in the 1970s". The American Sociologist 42 (1): 3–33.
- Bortolini, Matteo (2011). "Before civil religion. On Robert Bellah's forgotten encounters with America, 1955-1965". Sociologica 4 (3).