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The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In the mid-eighteenth century, Americans experienced an outbreak of religious revivals that shook colonial society. This book provides a definitive view of these revivals, now known as the First Great Awakening, and their dramatic effects on American culture. Historian Thomas S. Kidd tells the absorbing story of early American evangelical Christianity through the lives of ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published November 28th 2007 by Yale University Press
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Kidd received his Ph.D. under Marsden at Notre Dame, and clearly exhibits the trend advanced by the Wheaton-Notre Dame axis, now headed up by Mark Noll. Kidd frames the Great Awakening within a broader history of Evangelicalism in an effort to rehabilitate the Great Awakening from the formidable assaults of Jon Butler and Frank Lambert. In the intro, Kidd explicitly sets up this work as a response to Butler.

Should be read alongside Noll's *Rise of Evangelicalism*. Interestingly, in the latter, N
Kidd shows how the first Great Awakening was long and resulted in a new form of Protestatism: evangelicalism. He argues that evangelicalism is defined in part by its attention to the Holy Spirit, particularly in revival. While scholarship often characterizes GA groups as "Old Light" and "New Lights", Kidd argues that there were anti-revivalists, moderate evangelicasl, and radical evangelicals. This book explores the effects of the GA, but also how these three groups interacted and its effect on ...more
For years a matter of speculation, it is now clear that Thomas Kidd is the third member of the Marsden-Noll triumvirate destined to rule Rome, er, American religious studies. In what is now certainly the scholarly standard on this topic, Kidd shows great command over his material. Scholars will be especially appreciate his explicit interaction with issues of historiography in the introduction and elsewhere.

If there is a central theme of this book, it is that the Great Awakening must not be unde
The definitive work on the Great Awakening.

There are many invaluable insights in this book. Rather than the traditional Old/New Light distinction among evangelicals, he presents a more nuanced distinction of Moderate/Radical evangelicals. Ironically, it was moderate evangelicalism that fed into revolution while radical evangelicalism led many into neutrality. Kidd surveys the various anti-authoritarian religious impulses of the 1740s that influenced the Revolutionary War of 1770s. Kidd argues t
This extensively researched work examines the social impact of a swelling of religious revival prior to the Revolutionary War. Its origins were found in the loss of Puritan adherents in the third generation after the Pilgrims. Traveling preachers caused mass religious hysteria to the point that they became worried that the entire movement might be the work of the devil. It saw the emergence of the first true religious celebrity, George Whitefield, who, although cross eyed was a mesmerizing speak ...more
This is a good overview of the Great Awakening. Insofar as Kidd presents an original interpretation, his interpretation persuades.

Kidd emphasizes continuity. First, he argues that the Great Awakening divided American Protestants into a spectrum of three ambiguous groups, not two sharply defined ones: instead of New Lights and Old Lights, Kidd gives us "radical evangelicals," "moderate evangelicals," and "anti-revivalists." Second, Kidd argues that the Great Awakening was part of a revival tradi
In a very well researched and thoroughly organized work, Thomas Kidd seeks to capture the Great Awakening in one single volume. As I read this book, I made a note in one of the margins, "Kidd puts more in one paragraph than most put on a page". This book is filled with names, facts, and dates to capture the details of the Great Awakening.
That said, the presence of so many facts does make this a complex read. You feel the urge to be taking notes versus casually reading for enjoyment. The margins
Jonathan Tomes
Riveting! I greatly enjoyed Kidd's social history narrative of the long Great Awakening. In addition to functioning as a reliable account of a remarkable period, this work also serves as a thoughtful introduction to the origins of modern evangelicalism
Helpful overview of "The Great Awakening."
A well written account of the Great Awakening. Chronicles the various awakenings that took places in the colonies. Provides an explanation for the rise of evangelicalism as a force in American Church history. Great footnotes. Now I have to go back a read Mark Noll's "The Rise of Evangelicalism" published by IVP. I've developed a high regard for Professor Kidd's acumen and writing.
This was very good. Kidd traces the roots of evangelicalism in colonial America - an intriguing story in its own root and a much needed back-story to understanding our own times.

Also read in Nov, 2013.
Jay Perkins
Well researched and well written account of the First Great Awakening in the British colonies.
Nathan Stam
Interesting, but it's a survey so it deals with too much information.
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Thomas S. Kidd teaches history at Baylor University, and is Senior Fellow at Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion. Dr. Kidd has appeared on the Glenn Beck tv program, the Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager radio shows, and written columns for USA Today and the Washington Post. He is a columnist for His latest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots. Other books include God of Lib ...more
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