Frank Lambert Inventing the Great Awakening

ISBN 13: 9780691086910

Inventing the Great Awakening

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9780691086910: Inventing the Great Awakening
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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.

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"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

About the Author:

Frank Lambert is Associate Professor of History at Purdue University and the author of "Pedlar in Divinity:" George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737-1770 (Princeton).

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Publisher: Princeton University Press, 1999
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691086910

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAH9780691086910

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