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Calling Down Fire
Charles Grandison Finney and Revivalism in Jefferson County, New York, 1800-1840
Calling Down Fire
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Marianne Perciaccante - Author
Price: $49.50 
Hardcover - 203 pages
Release Date: February 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5639-0
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5639-2

Quantity:  
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 203 pages
Release Date: February 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5640-4
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5640-8

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Explores how the agrarian setting of Jefferson County, New York, influenced the revival methods of Charles Grandison Finney, with implications for the study of revivalism more generally.

Calling Down Fire examines the social and cultural influence of Jefferson County, New York, an isolated, agrarian setting, on the formation of Charles Grandison Finney’s theology and revival methods. Finney, who later became president of Oberlin College, was arguably the most innovative and influential revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. He pioneered methods which were widely adopted and promoted a theology that emphasized the ability of evangelists to save souls and the importance of free will in the salvation process. Marianne Perciaccante follows the course of religious enthusiasm and the evolution of the reform impulse in Jefferson County following Finney’s departure for more influential pulpits. When Finney began to preach in Jefferson County, he brought Baptist and Methodist piety to the Presbyterians of the northern section of the county. This pious fervor eventually was adopted widely by middle-class Presbyterians and Congregationalists and constituted an acceptance by elites of tempered, non-elite piety.

Contrasting with scholarship that posits that the arrival of the Erie Canal encouraged newly displaced city residents to seek solace in revivals, this book argues that revivals cannot be considered atypical events which develop only in the midst of social dislocation. Jefferson County was distant from the Erie Canal and its citizens did not undergo great change as a result of it, yet the county developed a strong revival tradition. Perciaccante maintains that emotional fervor should be seen as a normal expression of piety for Baptists and Methodists, as well as for a number of other Protestants of the early-nineteenth-century northeast.

“Here religion has not been presented in a vacuum, but in light of prevailing economic and sociological considerations of the period and area. Calling Down Fire is equally accessible and of interest to the general populace and to the undergraduate … it serves as a stellar starting point for graduate-level discussion and reconsideration of prevalent normative historical interpretation.” — Religious Studies Review

Marianne Perciaccante is an attorney and an independent historian.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

2. Jefferson County

Appendix: New York State Census of 1835 and 1845

3. The Foundations of Fervor

4. The Maturation of the Churches

5. The Progress of Reform

6. Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index



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