This definitive, two-volume encyclopedia is the first academic reference work devoted specifically to religious revivals in North America. Incorporating the work of 120 scholars, the first volume contains an A-Z set of 228 articles touching on people (e.g., Billy Graham, Aimee Semple McPherson, Francisco Olazabal, etc.), revival events (the Great Awakening, Cane Ridge, the Azusa Street Revival), religious denominations or groups associated with revivals (Methodists, Pentecostals, Primitive Baptists), revival practices (the altar call, bodily manifestations, preaching, praying, speaking in tongues), and themes in revivals (confession of sins, ecstasy, eschatology, foreign missions, material culture, money and revivals). The second volume includes a documentary history of religious revivals from 1527 to 2005, with editorial introductions and selected passages from 121 primary texts—some published here for the first time—and a general bibliography of about 5000 books, articles, and dissertations.
Religious revivals have had a tremendous impact on American society throughout its history. During the First Great Awakening (1739-45), waves of religious fervor spread throughout the American colonies. The Second Great Awakening (1795-1835) witnessed the expansion of existing denominations (e.g., Baptist and Methodist) and the foundation of new denominations such as the Disciples of Christ, the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Seventh-day Adventists. These revivalist groups flowered and played a critical role in such cultural and historical movements as abolitionism, temperance, and the struggle for women’s rights. More recently, the growing strength of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism during the late 20th Century may be yet another great awakening that has had—and will have—a profound impact on political, social, and cultural developments.