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Preaching Politics
The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation

By Jerome Dean Mahaffey

Preaching Politics
Hardback, 310 pages $44.95
Published: 1st September 2007
ISBN: 9781932792881
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All History, All Practical Theology, All Religious Studies, All Rhetoric Studies, American History, Church History, Preaching, Rhetoric & Religion

The third volume in the Studies in Rhetoric & Religion, Preaching Politics traces the surprising and lasting influence of one of American history's most fascinating and enigmatic figures—George Whitefield. Jerome Mahaffey explores George Whitefield's role in creating a "rhetoric of community" that successfully established a common worldview among the many colonial cultures. Using a rigorous method of rhetorical analysis, Mahaffey cogently argues that George Whitefield directed the evolution of an American collective religious identity that lay underneath the emerging political ideology that fueled the American Revolution.

1 The Quest for American Origins

2 Whitefield: Discovering His Talents, Discovering His Identity

3 American Identity

4 America Awakened

5 Toward Colonial Unification

6 The War Against Arbitrary Power

7 The Deep Laid Plot

8 A Blueprint For Revolution

9 The Legacy of Whitefield

"This study of the convergence of religion and politics in 18th-century America is an altogether satisfying presentation suitable for use by undergraduate and graduate students alike... Recommended."


"Though the famed eighteenth-century itinerant evangelist, George Whitefield, has received considerable attention over the past two decades, surprisingly few studies focus directly on the 100 plus sermons Whitefield preached and published from a rhetorical vantage point. Happily, that lucunae is now filled with Jerome Mahaffey's impressive new book, Preaching Politics. Besides exploring the rhetoric underlying Whitefield's dynamic sermons, this book also looks at Anglo-American politics and deftly locates Whitefield's words in the question for an independent American political identity. A must-read for students of eighteenth-century religion and politics alike."

Harry S. Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of Religious History and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University

"Professor Mahaffey has established in a conclusive manner the contribution that George Whitefield made to the unifying of American political thought through his preaching and writing. He has also shown in a detailed way the political influence of Whitefield in England. This book is required reading for an explanation of the forces that led to American independence."

Thomas H. Olbricht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion, Pepperdine University

"This excellent study sheds new light on George Whitefield as an orator and argues convincingly for his role, and the role of evangelical Protestantism, in the formation of an American identity. This significant contribution to the rhetorical, religious, and political history of the colonial period adds much to our understanding of the underpinnings of the American Revolution."

James R. Andrews, Editor, Sources of Identity in British-American Colonial Rhetoric, The Rhetorical History of the United States

Jerome Dean Mahaffey (Ph.D. University of Memphis) is Lecturer in the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University and the author of The Accidental Revolutionary: George Whitefield and the Creation of America.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 310 pages
 9in x 6in

  HIS036020, HIS036030, REL015000
 Baylor University Press

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