The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism

True Religion in a Modern World

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D. Bruce Hindmarsh
  • New York, NY: 
    Oxford University Press
    , January
     2018.
     360 pages.
     $35.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780190616694.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

Evangelicalism appeared as a new pattern of Christian devotion at a moment in history when the foundations of Anglo-American society were shifting. The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism sheds new light on the nature of evangelical religion by locating its rise with reference to major movements ofthe 18th century, including Modernity, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment. Hindmarsh draws on a wide range of sources to make meaningful connections between the evangelical awakening and the history of science, law, art, and literature. Each of these fields placed a profound emphasison nature and the authority of natural knowledge, and democratic debate was encouraged in the public sphere. In this context, evangelicals forcefully pressed their agenda for "true religion," believing it was still possible to experience "the life of God in the soul of man." The results weredramatic and disruptive. This book presents a fresh perspective and new research on the religious thought of leading evangelical figures such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards. It also traces the significance of evangelical spirituality for non-elites across multiple genres. From thescribbled marginalia of lay Methodists and the poetry of an African-American laywoman to the visual culture of grand manner portraits, lunar drawings, and satirical prints, Hindmarsh traces the meaning of evangelical devotion in a rich variety of contexts. By presenting devotion, culture, and ideastogether, The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism shows the advent of evangelicalism to be a significant new episode in the history of Christian spirituality.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

D. Bruce Hindmarsh holds the James M. Houston Chair of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver. A past president of the American Society of Church History, he has published and spoken widely to international audiences on the history of early British evangelicalism. His previous books include John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition and The Evangelical Conversion Narrative, both by Oxford University Press.

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