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Citizens of Zion: The Social Origins of Camp Meeting Revivalism Hardcover – March, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Great Revival was a religious phenomenon that swept the country in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and led to the growth of popular religious sentiment. In Kentucky, this took the form of camp meetings, bringing together large crowds of people who listened to spirited sermons during the day and camped out at night. Contrary to traditional interpretations, which saw camp meeting revivalism as arising out of poverty, Eslinger (history, DePaul Univ.) considers the social milieu of Kentucky in great detail and finds that camp meeting revivalism was a result of the economic, political, and cultural tensions of the time. Examining the relationship between Presbyterian and Methodist preachers, as well as the composition of the groups that participated in the camp meetings, Eslinger offers a fresh, insightful, well-researched look at an iconic American phenomenon. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.AAugustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Newark Abbey, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

The Author: Ellen Eslinger is associate professor of history at DePaul University.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press; 1st edition (March 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572330333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572330337
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,983,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In Citizens of Zion, Ellen Eslinger joins in the scholarly tradition of seeing revivalism in earthly rather than supernatural terms, but challenge the dominant Turnerian paradigm that other scholars developed from Fredrick Jackson Turner's influential ideas about the frontier. The Turnerian thesis on revivalism holds that decentralized, emotionally unrestrained western revivals primarily met the needs of highly individualistic people isolated from church and government who struggled to survive on the fringe of civilization. Eslinger contends instead that camp meeting revivals served primarily as a liminal (that is, boundary-crossing) experience through which participants could more easily enter into and relate with the young nation's emerging culture. This experience was a helpful "integrating mechanism" for the transition into a new social order because it temporarily broke down social barriers in a communal experience of unity and harmony when people were experiencing disorienting changes in polity, economy, churches, and society generally (p. xxi). Eslinger argues her case through a close analysis of the Great Revival in Kentucky beginning in 1800 and culminating at Cane Ridge in 1801, one of the first of the great camp revivals in the Second Great Awakening, loosely defined. Eslinger focuses on this revival in the formative period of camp meeting revivals to propose a new thesis explaining where, when, and why they emerged on the national scene and found widespread popularity thereafter.Read more ›
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