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Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation (Studies in Rhetoric and Religion)

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The third volume in the Studies in Rhetoric & Religion series, Preaching Politics traces the surprising and lasting influence of one of American history's most fascinating and enigmatic figures--George Whitefield. Jerome Mahaffey explores George Whitefield's role in creating a "rhetoric of community" that successfully established a common worldview among the many colonial The third volume in the Studies in Rhetoric & Religion series, Preaching Politics traces the surprising and lasting influence of one of American history's most fascinating and enigmatic figures--George Whitefield. Jerome Mahaffey explores George Whitefield's role in creating a "rhetoric of community" that successfully established a common worldview among the many colonial cultures. Using a rigorous method of rhetorical analysis, Mahaffey cogently argues that George Whitefield directed the evolution of an American collective religious identity that lay underneath the emerging political ideology that fueled the American Revolution.


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The third volume in the Studies in Rhetoric & Religion series, Preaching Politics traces the surprising and lasting influence of one of American history's most fascinating and enigmatic figures--George Whitefield. Jerome Mahaffey explores George Whitefield's role in creating a "rhetoric of community" that successfully established a common worldview among the many colonial The third volume in the Studies in Rhetoric & Religion series, Preaching Politics traces the surprising and lasting influence of one of American history's most fascinating and enigmatic figures--George Whitefield. Jerome Mahaffey explores George Whitefield's role in creating a "rhetoric of community" that successfully established a common worldview among the many colonial cultures. Using a rigorous method of rhetorical analysis, Mahaffey cogently argues that George Whitefield directed the evolution of an American collective religious identity that lay underneath the emerging political ideology that fueled the American Revolution.

27 review for Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation (Studies in Rhetoric and Religion)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    An excellent, very readable, and entirely sympathetic and engaging reading of Whitefield's spiritual and rhetorical agenda, as well as his importance in creating nascent ideas of community in the scattered colonies. Mahaffey (a fellow Memphis grad! huzzah!) offers strong close-readings of primary sermons, writes a captivating narrative about Whitefield's place as a central figure in early American ideology, and breaks down the Methodist and Establishment controversies that circled around his pre An excellent, very readable, and entirely sympathetic and engaging reading of Whitefield's spiritual and rhetorical agenda, as well as his importance in creating nascent ideas of community in the scattered colonies. Mahaffey (a fellow Memphis grad! huzzah!) offers strong close-readings of primary sermons, writes a captivating narrative about Whitefield's place as a central figure in early American ideology, and breaks down the Methodist and Establishment controversies that circled around his presence both in America and England. At first, when seeing the title, I thought this would be a reading that associates (a la Elie Halevy and his followers) the Methodist connection with a kind of lower-class submission to stabilizing values; or that it would attempt to discern a "political theology;" but it's really much more about Whitefield's ability to navigate the nascent political channels by rhetorically applying the political and social philosophy that was available to him in subtle, influential ways throughout his ministry, and the way he used this understanding to unify disparate groups. As studies of the "Great Awakening" go, this one is focused, not particularly polemical, and challenges interpretative debates by sticking to a central figure, his writings, and the responses to them. An excellent resource for specialists, but some chapters (particularly those that synthesize biographical sources) would also be valuable for pastors and students.

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