Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism

(Paperback - Jul 1996)
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Charles Grandison Finney was the foremost evangelist in the pre-Civil War United States. His revivals in the cities along the Erie Canal; his well-organized campaigns in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and the British Isles; his prominent pastorate at New York's Broadway Tabernacle; and his teaching career at Oberlin College exemplify the evangelical spirit that swept the country following the Second Great Awakening. This lively biography by historian Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe tells the story of Finney's remarkable life and offers fresh insights into the nature of evangelicalism and the nineteenth-century American experience. By using the life of the great revivalist and educator as a window into the soul of American evangelicalism, Hambrick-Stowe shows in striking ways how Finney displayed the characteristics of that broader movement, many of which continue to flourish in twentieth-century religious life. Based on a thorough reading of the Finney Papers, Finney's writings, contemporary sources, and modern historiography, this biography exhibits scholarly depth in a popular narrative that is meant to be read and enjoyed as well as studied. A map of Finney's evangelistic travels, portraits, and other illustrations enhance the text.


  • SKU: 9780802801296
  • SKU10: 0802801293
  • Title: Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism
  • Series: Library of Religious Biography
  • Qty Remaining Online: 128
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
  • Date Published: Jul 1996
  • Pages: 336
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 1.11
  • Dimensions: 9.05" L x 5.97" W x 0.87" H
  • Features: Illustrated
  • Themes: Theometrics | Academic;
  • Subject: Religious


"Will appeal not only to readers with a special interest in Finney's life and thought but also to those who seek a better understanding of the historical roots of evangelicalism and the development of U.S. theology in the nineteenth century…. Hambrick-Stowe narrates Finney's life with admirable clarity, places it in historical context, and provides a thorough bibliographical review for readers inclined to dig deeper." — Booklist

"Charles G. Finney has been an elusive figure to his several biographers, and Hambrick-Stowe has succeeded where others have failed to bring Finney to life in his several roles as revivalist, professor, theologian, reformer, pastor, husband, and college president…. A portrait that moves well beyond conventional caricatures of him as a representative of Jacksonian American to explore links between Finney and Jonathan Edwards in the New England theology…. A book that is "meant to be read and enjoyed as well as studied" and to be recommended for use by upper-division undergraduate and graduate students." — Choice

"An engaging narrative and a careful record. In short, student, scholar, and spiritual seeker alike will want to consult this chart of the spiritual journey, revival style." — Evangelical Studies Bulletin

"A good biography with an interesting interpretation." — Library Journal

"One of the strengths of this new biography of Finney is that Hambrick-Stowe captures all this complexity and shows how these multiple roles fit together in one person. It also puts Finney firmly in the context of his times (the boisterous pre-Civil War America) and, unlike some other works, shows the cultural influences on Finney." — Missiology

"This…lively volume in Eerdmans' Library of Religious Biography series captures the intensity of Charles G. Finney, an extraordinary lawyer-turned-evangelist who transformed American revivalism and greatly influenced pre-Civil War American society…. Hambrick-Stowe's vivid prose conveys the excitement of Finney's early campaigns in the 19th-century northeast. His immersion in the writings of Finney and his contemporaries is evident from the helpful note on sources at the end of the volume, and it pays off in his masterful use of quotations to infuse a sense of immediacy and authenticity into this retelling of the evangelist's life." — The Christian Century

"Scholars and general readers will enjoy Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe's sympathetic, but balanced, biography of Charles G. Finney. This narrative is rich in detail and a joy to read." — The Journal of American History


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