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Template:Great Awakening The Great Awakening was a religious revival in American religious history. They were characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase in interest in religion, a profound sense of guilt and redemption on the part of those affected, a jump in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations. After a generation or so, the fervor calmed and faded away.[1]

Contents

First Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening began in the 1730s.

Ministers from various evangelical Protestant denominations supported the Great Awakening. Indeed, for an age of denominational strife and competition, the Awakening was strikingly ecumenical. Additionally, pastoral styles began to change. In the late colonial period, most pastors read their sermons, which were theologically dense and advanced a particular theological argument or interpretation. Leaders of the Awakening such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield had little interest in merely engaging parishioners' minds; they wanted far more to elicit an emotional response from their audience, one which might yield the workings and evidence of saving grace. Some have argued that these new ministers eschewed logical or rational sermons, but this was patently not the case the vast majority of the time. Edwards, for instance, continued to preach an ardent and intellectual vision of Calvinism, with both sermons was his "transparent emotion, heartfelt sincerity,...[and] inexorable logic," which along with a sustained theme, could create quite the "cumulative impact."[2]

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Influence on political life

Joseph Tracy, the minister and historian who gave this religious phenomenon its name in his influential 1842 book The Great Awakening, saw the First Great Awakening as a precursor to the American Revolution. The evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic concepts in the period of the American Revolution.[3]

Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was strongest in the western states, fllowing the revival at Cane Ridge in Kentucky, and also in the "burned over" district of upstate new York.

New denominations included the Church of Christ (Christians), Disciples of Christ, and the Mormons.

The abolition movement emerged in the North from the wider Second Great Awakening 1800-1840.

Third Great Awakening

The Third Great Awakening in 1880-1910 was characterized by new denominations, very active missionary work, and the Social Gospel approach to social issues.

Terminology

The idea of an "awakening" implies a slumber or passivity during secular or less religious times. Thus, awakening is a term which originates and is embraced often and primarily by evangelical Christians.[4] In recent times, the idea of "awakenings" in US history has been put forth by conservative US evangelicals.[5]

References

  1. ^ McLoughlin (1978)
  2. ^ George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003), pg. 195, 220.
  3. ^ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 1992 p. 249,273-4, 299-300
  4. ^ Lambert, Leslie. Inventing the Great Awakening, Princeton University Press, 1999.
  5. ^ "Bush Tells Group He Sees a 'Third Awakening'" Washington Post, Sept. 12 2006.

Further reading

  • Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People (1972) the standard history
  • Butler, Jon. "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction." Journal of American History 69 (1982): 305-25. in JSTOR, influential article
  • Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. (1990). excerpt and text search
  • Hatch, Nathan O. The Democratization of American Christianity (1989). excerpt and text search
  • Heimert, Alan. Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (1966) online in ACLS e-books
  • Lambert, Frank. Inventing the Great Awakening Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (2007) , 412pp exxcerpt and text search
  • Lambert, Frank. Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994
  • William G. McLoughlin; Revivals, Awakenings and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607-1977 (1978)
  • Najar, Monica. Evangelizing the South: A Social History of Church and State in Early America. (2008). 252 pp.
  • Tracy, Joseph. The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield, 1997, Banner of Truth, ISBN 0851517129. This is a reprint of the original work published in 1842.
  • Stout, Harry. The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism;Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans, 1991

Primary sources


The Great Awakening was a religious revival in American religious history. Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of Great Awakening occurring from the early 18th century to the late 20th century, each characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, a jump in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations. After a generation or so, the fervor calmed and faded away.[1]

Great Awakening
First (c. 1730–1755)
Second (c. 1790–1840)
Third (c. 1850–1900)
Fourth (c. 1960–1980)

The First Great Awakening began in 1725 and lasted to about 1750. Ministers from various evangelical Protestant denominations supported the Great Awakening. Indeed, for an age of denominational strife and competition, the Awakening was strikingly ecumenical. Additionally, pastoral styles began to change. In the late colonial period, most pastors read their sermons, which were theologically dense and advanced a particular theological argument or interpretation. Leaders of the Awakening such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield had little interest in merely engaging parishioners' minds; they wanted far more to elicit an emotional response from their audience, one which might yield the workings and evidence of saving grace. Some have argued that these new ministers eschewed logical or rational sermons, but this was patently not the case the vast majority of the time. Edwards, for instance, continued to preach an ardent and intellectual vision of Calvinism — his sermons contained "[both] transparent emotion, heartfelt sincerity,...[and] inexorable logic," which along with a sustained theme, could create quite the "cumulative impact."[2]

Contents

=Influence on political life

= Joseph Tracy, the minister and historian who gave this religious phenomenon its name in his influential 1842 book The Great Awakening, saw the First Great Awakening as a precursor to the American Revolution. The evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic concepts in the period of the American Revolution. This helped create a belief in the race of all men.[3]

Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was strongest in the western states, following the revival at Cane Ridge in Kentucky, and also in the "burned over" district of upstate New York.

New denominations included several major religious denominations, including Seventh-day Adventists, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and Mormonism.

The abolition movement emerged in the North from the wider Second Great Awakening 1800-1840.

Third Great Awakening

The Third Great Awakening in 1880-1910 was characterized by new denominations, very active missionary work, and also the Social Gospel approach to social issues.

Fourth Great Awakening

The Fourth Great Awakening is a debated concept that has not received the acceptance of the first three. Advocates such as economist Robert Fogel say it happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At that time the "mainline" Protestant denominations weakened sharply in both membership and influence while the most conservative religious denominations (such as the Southern Baptists and Missouri Synod Lutherans) grew rapidly in numbers, spread across the United States, had grave internal theological battles and schisms, and became politically powerful.

There is no consensus on whether a fourth awakening happened.[4]

Terminology

The idea of an "awakening" implies a slumber or passivity during secular or less religious times. Thus, awakening is a term which originates and is embraced often and primarily by evangelical Christians.[5] In recent times, the idea of "awakenings" in US history has been put forth by conservative US evangelicals.[6]

References

  1. ^ McLoughlin (1978)
  2. ^ George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003), pg. 195, 220.
  3. ^ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 1992 p. 249,273-4, 299-300
  4. ^ Michael Barkun, "The Awakening-Cycle Controversy," Sociological Analysis 1985 46(4):425-443; An arguments in favor appears in Robert Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism (2000)
  5. ^ Lambert, Leslie. Inventing the Great Awakening, Princeton University Press, 1999.
  6. ^ "Bush Tells Group He Sees a 'Third Awakening'" Washington Post, Sept. 12 2006.

Further reading

  • Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People (1972) the standard history
  • Butler, Jon. "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction." Journal of American History 69 (1982): 305-25. in JSTOR, influential article
  • Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. (1990). excerpt and text search
  • Hatch, Nathan O. The Democratization of American Christianity (1989). excerpt and text search
  • Heimert, Alan. Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (1966) online in ACLS e-books
  • Lambert, Frank. Inventing the Great Awakening Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Kelleter, Frank. Amerikanische Aufklärung: Sprachen der Rationalität im Zeitalter der Revolution (2002)
  • Kidd, Thomas S. The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (2007) , 412pp exxcerpt and text search
  • Lambert, Frank. Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994
  • William G. McLoughlin; Revivals, Awakenings and Reform: An Essay on Religion and Social Change in America, 1607-1977 (1978)
  • Najar, Monica. Evangelizing the South: A Social History of Church and State in Early America. (2008). 252 pp.
  • Tracy, Joseph. The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield, 1997, Banner of Truth, ISBN 0-85151-712-9. This is a reprint of the original work published in 1842.
  • Stout, Harry. The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism;Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans, 1991

Primary sources


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GREAT AWAKENING, the name given to a remarkable religious revival centring in New England in 1740-1743, but covering all the American colonies in 1740-1750. The word "awakening" in this sense was frequently (and possibly first) used by Jonathan Edwards at the time of the Northampton revival of 1734-1735, which spread through the Connecticut Valley and prepared the way for the work in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut (1740-1741) of GeorgeWhitefield, who had previously been preaching in the South, especially at Savannah, Georgia. He, his immediate follower, Gilbert Tennent (1703-1764), other clergymen, such as James Davenport, and many untrained laymen who took up the work, agreed in the emotional and dramatic character of their preaching, in rousing their hearers to a high pitch of excitement, often amounting to frenzy, in the undue stress they put upon "bodily effects" (the physical manifestations of an abnormal psychic state) as proofs of conversion, and in their unrestrained attacks upon the many clergymen who did not join them and whom they called "dead men," unconverted, unregenerate and careless of the spiritual condition of their parishes. Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Colman (1673-1747), and Joseph Bellamy, recognized the viciousness of so extreme a position. Edwards personally reprimanded Whitefield for presuming to say of any one that he was unconverted, and in his Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion devoted much space to "showing what things are to be corrected, or avoided, in promoting this work." Edwards' famous sermon at Enfield in 1741 so affected his audience that they cried and groaned aloud, and he found it necessary to bid them be still that he might go on; but Davenport and many itinerants provoked and invited shouting and even writhing, and other physical manifestations. At its May session in 1742 the General Court of Massachusetts forbade itinerant preaching save with full consent from the resident pastor; in May 1743 the annual ministerial convention, by a small plurality, declared against "several errors in doctrine and disorders in practice which have of late obtained in various parts of the land," against lay preachers and disorderly revival meetings; in the same year Charles Chauncy, who disapproved of the revival, published Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England; and in 1744-1745 Whitefield, upon his second tour in New England, found that the faculties of Harvard and Yale had officially "testified" and "declared" against him and that most pulpits were closed to him. Some separatist churches were formed as a result of the Awakening; these either died out or became Baptist congregations. To the reaction against the gross methods of the revival has been ascribed the religious apathy of New England during the last years of the 18th century; but the martial and political excitement, beginning with King George's War (i.e. the American part of the War of the Austrian Succession) and running through the American War of Independence and the founding of the American government, must be reckoned at the least as contributing causes.

See Joseph Tracy, The Great Awakening (Boston, 1842); Samuel P. Hayes, "An Historical Study of the Edwardean Revivals," in The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 13 (Worcester, Mass., 1902); and Frederick M. Davenport, Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals (New York, 1905), especially chapter viii. pp. 94-131.

(R. WE.)


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Simple English

The Great Awakenings were a few periods of religious revival in United States history. The term is used sometimes to refer to events like the Protestant Reformation, as well as to identify general trends within U.S. religious culture.

There are four generally accepted Great Awakenings in U.S. history:

  • The First Great Awakening (1730s - 1740s)
  • The Second Great Awakening (1800s - 1830s)
  • The Third Great Awakening (1880s - 1900s)
  • The Fourth Great Awakening (1960s - 1970s)


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