Catalogue


Inventing the "great awakening" /
Frank Lambert.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1999.
description
viii, 300 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691043795 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1999.
isbn
0691043795 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
2667959
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [281]-293) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Frank Lambert is Associate Professor of History at Purdue University
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Lambert successfully shows that the notion of a North Atlantic 'Great Awakening,' including a 'great work' in the American colonies, was 'invented' during the period 1735-45, rather than with the publication of Joseph Tracy's The Great Awakening a century later, as some recent historians have suggested. The book is outstanding in tracing down and summarizing the wealth of pro- and anti-revivalist literature of this period. Its treatment of anti-revival works is the most nearly complete of any book on the colonial revivals."-- Mark Noll, Wheaton College
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-04-15:
Recent scholarship has sought to diminish the scope and scale of the Great Awakening, as the mid-18th century evangelical revival was called on this side of the Atlantic, attributing it to the invention of 19th-century historians. Lambert (history, Purdue Univ.), well known for his biography of George Whitefield (Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 17371770, Princeton Univ., 1994), argues that it was an invention, but of the Colonial revivalists themselves. Lambert uses the term invention in its most positive light as a creation rather than a fabrication or contrivance. Through careful use of primary sources, an understanding emerges of how early revivalists constructed their own understanding of the work in which they were involved and how they were able to develop and expand the movement. Significantly, this work goes beyond explaining the revival itself and shows how a popular movement developed prior to the advent of modern media. Although the bibliography is thin in places, this is a significant scholarly contribution to the literature. Recommended for academic libraries.Daniel D. Liestman, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1999-10-01:
The Great Awakening has traditionally been presented as a time in Colonial America when the outpouring of God's love and grace became so intense that dynamic revivals spread throughout New England and the Middle Colonies. Lambert does not share this conclusion. He points out quite deftly that there were great revivals at the time of Pentecost and during the historical Protestant Reformation. But the Great Awakening that occurred in the American colonies and Britain from 1739 to 1745 consisted largely of a series of primarily local revivals. These never connected to demonstrate that God was intervening in a major way in the affairs of people to produce great spirituality over a large and expanding geographic area. The enormous celebrity that individual charismatic preachers such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, the Wesley brothers, and the Tennents attained in the secular press and the collected writings of revivalist promoters such as Thomas Prince, John Lewis, and John Gillies only strengthen Lambert's contention that the Great Awakening was largely a product of human invention and not evidence of an outpouring of God's special love at a particular time in history. Illustrations. All levels. J. D. Born Jr. Wichita State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Exceptionally well written and adequately documented. . . . This is an important contribution to the debate."-- Kenneth G. C. Newport, Theological Book Review
"Frank Lambert provides a surprising narrative of the awakening that is well written, thoroughly researched, and rich in implication. . . . A brief review cannot do justice to this excellent work."-- Michael J. McClymond, Journal of Religion
"Lambert has written an important book for students of American religious and cultural history. . . . [His] straightforward, non-sensational history makes a good case for 'great awakenings' in New England and several middle colonies before 1750 and marks a helpful turn in the debate about the real meaning of Joseph Tracy's Great Awakening ."-- Jon Butler, American Historical Review
"Lambert's work is synthetic in the best sense of the word, allowing us to see fully the contours of the revivals as they emerged in the public's eye. . . . Lambert focuses squarely on this question and thus revivifies the language through which people described and explained what they thought was happening to them. His judiciousness in this matter should be a model to us all."-- Philip F. Gura, Reviews of American History
"Replete with tables outlining revival events and publications, Lambert's book is a highly accessible account for specialists and nonspecialists alike. His attention to the importance of print, his appreciation of the role of transatlantic revival networks, and his sensitivity to the nuances of cultural 'invention' make this a model of historical scholarship."-- Peter J. Thuesen, The Catholic Historical Review
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, March 1999
Library Journal, April 1999
Choice, October 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
This book is a history of an astounding transatlantic phenomenon, a popular evangelical revival known in America as the first Great Awakening (1735-1745). Beginning in the mid-1730s, supporters and opponents of the revival commented on the extraordinary nature of what one observer called the "great ado," with its extemporaneous outdoor preaching, newspaper publicity, and rallies of up to 20,000 participants. Frank Lambert, biographer of Great Awakening leader George Whitefield, offers an overview of this important episode and proposes a new explanation of its origins.The Great Awakening, however dramatic, was nevertheless unnamed until after its occurrence, and its leaders created no doctrine nor organizational structure that would result in a historical record. That lack of documentation has allowed recent scholars to suggest that the movement was "invented" by nineteenth-century historians. Some specialists even think that it was wholly constructed by succeeding generations, who retroactively linked sporadic happenings to fabricate an alleged historic development. Challenging these interpretations, Lambert nevertheless demonstrat
Unpaid Annotation
"Lambert successfully shows that the notion of a North Atlantic 'Great Awakening,' including a 'great work' in the American colonies, was 'invented' during the period 1735-45, rather than with the publication of Joseph Tracy's The Great Awakening a century later, as some recent historians have suggested. The book is outstanding in tracing down and summarizing the wealth of pro- and anti-revivalist literature of this period. Its treatment of anti-revival works is the most nearly complete of any book on the colonial revivals."--Mark Noll, Wheaton College
Main Description
This book is a history of an astounding transatlantic phenomenon, a popular evangelical revival known in America as the first Great Awakening (1735-1745). Beginning in the mid-1730s, supporters and opponents of the revival commented on the extraordinary nature of what one observer called the "great ado," with its extemporaneous outdoor preaching, newspaper publicity, and rallies of up to 20,000 participants. Frank Lambert, biographer of Great Awakening leader George Whitefield, offers an overview of this important episode and proposes a new explanation of its origins. The Great Awakening, however dramatic, was nevertheless unnamed until after its occurrence, and its leaders created no doctrine nor organizational structure that would result in a historical record. That lack of documentation has allowed recent scholars to suggest that the movement was "invented" by nineteenth-century historians. Some specialists even think that it was wholly constructed by succeeding generations, who retroactively linked sporadic happenings to fabricate an alleged historic development. Challenging these interpretations, Lambert nevertheless demonstrates that the Great Awakening was invented--not by historians but by eighteenth-century evangelicals who were skillful and enthusiastic religious promoters. Reporting a dramatic meeting in one location in order to encourage gatherings in other places, these men used commercial strategies and newly popular print media to build a revival--one that they also believed to be an "extraordinary work of God." They saw a special meaning in contemporary events, looking for a transatlantic pattern of revival and finding a motive for spiritual rebirth in what they viewed as a moral decline in colonial America and abroad. By examining the texts that these preachers skillfully put together, Lambert shows how they told and retold their revival account to themselves, their followers, and their opponents. His inquiries depict revivals as cultural productions and yield fresh understandings of how believers "spread the word" with whatever technical and social methods seem the most effective.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 3
Opening Events: The "Great Awakenings" of the 1730sp. 17
"... that Religion may review in this Land"p. 21
Revival Traditionsp. 25
"In Such an Age as This"p. 32
Declaring the Acceptable Year of the Lordp. 43
"the first fruits of this extraordinary and mighty Work of God's Special Grace"p. 54
Revival in New Jerseyp. 55
Awakening in the Connecticut Valleyp. 62
A Faithful Narrative: The Northampton Revival as Told ... and Retoldp. 69
Wider Connections: An Intercolonial Great and General Awakening, 1739-1745p. 83
"imported Divinity"p. 87
George Whitefield and Revivalism in Englandp. 92
"We Hear From Abroad": News of the English Evangelical Revivalp. 102
Why 1739?p. 110
Promoting Whitefield in the Coloniesp. 116
The "Revival at ..."p. 125
Local and Regional Dimensionsp. 128
Revival Narratives: A Common Scriptp. 143
"... similar facts ... are now united": Constructing a Transatlantic Awakeningp. 151
British-American Revival Networksp. 155
Revival Magazines: "The Progress of the Gospel in England, Wales, Scotland, and America"p. 165
Historical Connections: The Great Awakening in Salvation Historyp. 171
Contested Inventions, 1742-1745p. 181
The "grand delusion" or "great Mistakes of the present Day"p. 185
The Revival as Artificep. 189
Antirevivalist Messagep. 206
Antirevivalist Publicationsp. 212
"This is the Lord's Doing"p. 222
Apologies: Defending the Revival as the Work of Godp. 223
Polemics: Attacking Opponents of the Work of Godp. 236
Differentiation: Distinguishing the Work of God from Enthusiasmp. 240
Epilogue. "The late Revival of Religion"p. 251
Notesp. 259
Selected Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 295
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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