Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Peter J. Thuesen

About the Center


Peter J. Thuesen

Director of Humanities Research

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Peter J. Thuesen

Peter J. Thuesen is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI, where he also serves as co-editor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation. A historian of American religion and of the Christian tradition since the Reformation, he was educated at Princeton University (PhD and MA) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA). He joined the IUPUI faculty in 2004 after previous appointments as assistant professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University (2001-2004) and assistant editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards and lecturer in American religious history at Yale Divinity School (1998-2001). He has been a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (Mellon Fellow), the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisville Institute, and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.

He is the author of two prize-winning intellectual histories: Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine (Oxford, 2009; paperback, 2011), which received the 2010 Christianity Today Book Award for History/Biography; and In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (Oxford, 1999; paperback, 2002), which received the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. He is also the editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 26, Catalogues of Books (Yale, 2008), the final volume in the Yale edition founded by Perry Miller in 1953. This volume, which includes a 113-page critical introduction, publishes and annotates for the first time Edwards’ private book lists and situates his lifelong career as a reader within the wider context of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic.

Currently, he is co-PI (with Professors Philip Goff and Art Farnsley) on a $507,000 grant from Lilly Endowment for “The Bible in American Life,” a three-year research initiative that will explore how Americans use scriptures in their daily lives. In addition, he is writing a book entitled Tornado God: Violent Weather and American Religion. His latest teaching includes “Mormonism and American Culture,” a course he inaugurated at IUPUI in 2011.  He is also a frequent speaker in local congregations, including his own parish, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he serves on the vestry as Senior Warden.