New Content at Joseph Smith Papers Web Pages

Check out the updated content at the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Edited Volumes: George Whitefield, Mormon Women

My second favorite Methodist itinerant has spawned a new volume:

George Whitefield: Life, Context, and Legacy (Oxford UP) edited by Geordan Hammond and David Ceri Jones. The material originated in a conference at Oxford University in 2014 to observe the tercentenary of the Grand Itinerant’s birth.
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The excellent Kate Holbrook and Matt Bowman have collected some important essays on Mormon women in Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (U of U Press).

Look for them at a bookstore or website near you.

Early National Systems: Millennial Hopes, III (Catholics in America)

Catholics in America were Millennialists, not in name or official doctrine, but in other more fundamental ways. Should a visiting alien observe antebellum America’s religious practice, he/she/it would find rather interesting parallels among the practices of Protestant pre-millennialist sects, post-millennial socialism, and Roman Catholics. To be sure, Catholics were more staid, less free to experiment in some ways, but they didn’t shy from revival methodology, and centuries long Catholic practice could be seen in double exposure among various American Millennialist offshoots, including Shakers, Owenites, Albert Brisbane, and others.
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Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, II. William Miller.

Joseph Smith seems wedged in the creases of nineteenth-century Protestant worldviews in any number of ways. From Election to Scripture, to Millennial aspiration, he separated, combined, and “synergized” a vibrant world that respected a deep tie between science, such as it was, and a fractured system of religious beliefs that overlay a diverse and growing marketplace of ideas and economies. Smith interacted, mostly at a distance, with the lights of his day and one of those was William Miller. Shaken from a Deistic picture of God’s interaction with the world by what he, as a eighteen-year-old captain in the war of 1812, saw as divine intervention, Miller began a religious journey of devotion and disappointment. That journey turned out to be a microcosm that portended the larger society’s gradual descent from optimism to a grudging acceptance of lesser purpose.
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Early National Systems: Millennial Hope, I

Many Americans in antebellum times saw their nation as an engine for the bright future of biblical end times. Ranging from Henry Clay’s practical and even semi-realistic “American System”[1] to social engineering designed to hurry Christ’s return to earth, it was characteristic of the age that even non-believers saw the idea as a comfortable metaphor for the destiny of what they considered a political example to the world. Modern Americans seem far from such notions, but there are pockets of American society where those nineteenth-century ideas persuade and guide the minds of dedicated souls, Mormons among them.
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Review. Jeremiah’s Scribes: Creating Sermon Literature in Puritan New England

Jeremiah’s Scribes : Creating Sermon Literature in Puritan New England
Meredith Marie Neuman
University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia) 2013.
Hardcover: $64.00 (Amazon).
280 pages.

I have been meaning to write something on Meredith Neuman’s study of Puritan preaching for some time, first because I enjoyed her careful work on sermons and their impact in a community that valued preaching as the Christian prophetic voice. Second because I found it useful in my own work on preaching. Neuman’s approach reveals much of preaching as lived religion in early New England.
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High Resolution Scans Now Available for the Complete Jonathan Edwards Collection at Yale and Andover Newton Theological School

Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, completed a high-resolution scan of the entire Edwards Collections at both Yale University and Andover Newton Theological School. To view and use the scans, go to http://edwards.yale.edu/node/973.