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Embodying the Spirit

, 368 pages

16 halftones, 3 line drawings

June 2004



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Embodying the Spirit

New Perspectives on North American Revivalism

Recent scholars of American religion have shown new interest inevangelicalism and pentecostalism. Of particular interest is the subject of revivalism—an enthusiastic or ecstatic form of religion that has affected American religious institutions, ideas, behavior, and adherents throughout the nation's history. In Embodying the Spirit Michael J. McClymond and his fellow contributors offer a new look at this extensive and often puzzling phenomenon. Going beyond institutional history, they examine a wide range of cases, from colonial to contemporary America. The contributors explore the role of gender, church architecture, Latino revivalism, youth groups, radio evangelism, Catholic revivalism, and recent events such as the Toronto Blessing—an outbreak of laughter, crying, and dancing that began at Toronto's Airport Vineyard Church in 1994 and has since spread to other congregations throughout the world.

In a thoughtful afterword, church historian Martin Marty admits that while we cannot know for sure why revivals happen, it matters that they do, and books such as this help us deepen our understanding and appreciation of them. This book will appeal to scholars and students of popular religion as well as to general readers interested in the subject.

Contributors: Fred W. Beuttler, University of Illinois at Chicago; Candy Gunther Brown, Saint Louis University; Finbarr Curtis, University of California, Santa Barbara; Gaston Espinosa, Northwestern University; Philip Goff, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis; Philip Harrold, University of Findlay; Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Macalester College; Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago; Michael J. McClymond, Saint Louis University; Walter F. Pitts, Louisiana State University; Philip J. Richter, Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme in Salisbury, England; Douglas James Slawson, National University in San Diego.

Michael J. McClymond is the Clarence Louis and Helen Irene Steber Professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. He is the author of Encounters with God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (winner of the American Society of Church History's Brewer Prize), coeditor of The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammed as Religious Founders, and editor of the forthcoming book, The Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America, to be published in 2005.

"The outstanding essays in this collection survey a broad spectrum of revivalism across ethnic, gender, confessional, and disciplinary boundaries."

"This volume sheds new light on both the history and interpretation of revivalism in the North American context, examining the topic from a number of unstudied or understudied perspectives. Further, the book comes at a time when some fresh thinking about revivalism would be most welcome. It is a genuine contribution to the field of American religion."

"Revivalism is as American as apple pie—and almost as neglected as a topic of serious historical study. Michael McClymond's perceptive team of contributors greatly deepens what passes for scholarship on American revivalism. A much improved historical understanding will result from this fine book."

"Brings together a diverse collection to attract attention, invite reflection, and challenge observers to think in new directions."

"McClymond and his contributors should be commended for the work's richness and for providing provocative paths for those making this journey."

"The quality of the essays is high, and the volume advances the discussions regarding embodiment and religion in the academy."

"There is... clearly significant value in the reading of this work."

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