Monday, 30 September 2013

Early Evangelicalism: A Reader







Jonathan Yeager's, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader (New York: OUP, 2013) is an important volume and will be especailly useful for all those who teach university level courses on evangelicalism or the various aspects of the movement which intersect with other areas of historical interest.

Although its not marketed as such, this volume may possibly be seen as a companion to the first two volumes of IVP's five volume 'History of Evangelicalism' series. Where those volumes have presented the narrative story of the origins, growth and development of the global evangelical movement, this volume allows the voices of many of the figures featured in those volumes the opportuniy to be heard for themselves.

The focus in this volume is therefore the eighteenth-century evangelical movement in the British Isles and America.Yeager has collected 62 short extracts, each three or four pages in length, from well-known and sometimes less well-known, evangelicals. Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards, Hannah More and Wilberforce all figure, but here also are the voices of Howel Harris, William Williams, John Cennick, Anne Steele, Isaac Backus, Phillis Wheatley and many others. Each extract is helpfully contextualised and the volume is prefaced with a short introductory essay, briefly exploring the nature of eighteenth-century evangelical religion.

This is a beautifully presented book, which deserves a wide readership, and which will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable for those of us that try to introduce the study of evangelicalism to slightly nonplused undergraduate students!

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