Whatever happened to the talkative God of the Bible?" asks Barbara Brown Taylor. Or as Lily Tomlin put it, "Why is it that when we talk to God we are said to be praying, and when God talks to us we're said to be schizophrenic"?
In this marvelous tour through America's religious history, Leigh Eric Schmidt, a historian at Princeton University, traces our suspicion of "hearing things" back to the 18th-century Enlightenment. "The senses, their management and augmentation, became a crucial proving ground in the making of modernity," Schmidt explains, "and the spiritual sensorium of Christianity was caught up in these perceptual projects, hearing especially."