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Sociologist Robert Bellah dies at 86

Sociologist Robert Bellah dies at 86

Robert Bellah, acclaimed author and sociologist of religion, has died. Dr. Bellah was Elliott Professor of Sociology, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and an active, faithful Episcopalian. Christianity Today reports:

Robert Bellah, an American sociologist whose career “showed the promise, and limits, of the [prophetic] scholarship he made so accessible to the church,” died this week after complications following surgery. He was 86.

“While Bellah was not a young man, when I saw him last December he was physically sturdy and mentally vigorous,” writes First Things blogger Matthew Schmitz. “It’s hard not to see this as a death out of season.” …

Bellah is perhaps best known for co-authoring the 1985 book “Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life,” which showed the limits of American individualism. But his career spanned decades on either side of that book.

Read more. The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, writes:

“Robert’s rector, the Rev. Phil Brochard, All Souls, Berkeley, called me from the midst of All Souls’ God Squad work trip in Brooklyn, where they are doing Hurricane Sandy relief and rebuilding work. Robert was a more recent friend of ours, though his famous book, Habits of the Heart, had a formative influence on me during graduate school. He preached one of the better sermons I’ve ever heard for Phil Brochard’s installation as rector of All Souls, and Robert was kind enough to let Sheila and me fete him at our home, celebrating the publication of another landmark book, ‘Religion in Human Evolution.’ He also allowed me to interview him as a Forum event at our cathedral.”

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