College of Arts and Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
enthusiasm, revivalism, pentecostalism, church history, Great Awakening
History | Religion
Darnell, Randy Lee, "Wildfire & Sacred Flame: Enthusiasm in American Revivalism 1734-1944" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3886.
The First and Second Great Awakenings were momentous events in American history. The developments that occurred from these movements forever influenced religion in the United States. Many participants in these revivals either witnessed or took part in an emotional religious experience often dubbed “enthusiasm,” which critics dismissed as fanaticism or the work of the devil. Advocates averred that these behaviors were genuine experiences brought about by the Holy Spirit. What can be demonstrated by the historical sources left behind from America’s great revivals is a continuity of this religious behavior from the First Great Awakening to revivals in the early twentieth century. By analyzing the sermons, theological treaties, and personal memoirs of the major figures who took part in significant revival movements in American history it is made clear that “enthusiasm,” whether respected or reviled, was an integral part of American revivalism from the colonial era to the modern period.