David Chidester

An Appreciation

  • Edward T Linenthal Indiana University


When the editors asked if I would write a short reflection on my long and enduring friendship with David Chidester for a book honoring David’s brilliant career, I of course said, ‘Yes’. David and I met in 1974 as graduate students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the department of Religious Studies. Along with two good friends and fellow graduate students, Jim McNamara and Deborah Sills-Gunn – who left us far too early – the four of us made up the Board of Directors (acknowledged in every one of David’s books). So many years later, we still have not yet decided what we are directing, but even with Deb’s empty chair, we remain a board-of-directors-in-waiting. We all shared wonderful times at the warm and inviting home of Walter and Lois Capps. Deb, David, and I spoke at the university’s memorial service after Walter’s sudden death in 1997, and David and I loved that we were able to present him with a copy of our co-edited book, American sacred space, dedicated to Walter.