Charles G. Finney: Revivalistic Rhetoric

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Overview

Though much has been written about Charles Finney, The Father of Modern Revivalism, most works have concentrated on his roles as an educator and political reformer. In this new study, Chesebrough examines the rhetorical skills and techniques that made Finney the first contemporary evangelist, one whose methods are still practiced today. A major force in many social reform movements of his time, most notably abolitionism, Finney introduced techniques to revivalist preaching that he used toward politically sophisticated ends. Chesebrough explores both his rhetoric and the effect it had on Finney's audiences, as well as the controversy this major figure often provoked.

Following a survey of Finney's life, with special attention given to those aspects pertaining to the development of his oratory, Chesebrough considers the themes of Finney's sermons and lectures on both religious and political subjects. A third section details the rhetorical devices he introduced and employed, and the volume concludes with three of Finney's actual sermons, which reveal the ways in which this speaker commanded the attention of his audiences.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313318139
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2001
  • Series: Great American Orators Series
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID B. CHESEBROUGH is a Professor of History at Illinois State University. He is the author of six books, including Frederick Douglass: Oratory from Slavery (Greenwood, 1998), Theodore Parker: Orator of Superior Ideas (Greenwood, 1999), and Phillips Brooks: Pulpit Eloquence (Greenwood, 2001).

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix
Foreword xiii
Acknowledgements xix
Introduction 1
1. Finney's Life 5
Early Years (1792-1821) 5
Conversion (1821) 9
Frontier Revivals (1824-1825) 12
Urban Revivals (1825-1832) 16
A Settled Pastorate (1832-1837) 42
Oberlin (1835-1875) 48
England (1849-1851) 56
The Final Twenty-Five Years (1851-1875) 60
2. Sermon Themes 67
Religious Themes 68
Reform Themes 76
3. Rhetorical Techniques 95
Invention 96
Arrangement 100
Style 101
Method of Preparation 106
Delivery 107
4. Three Sermons 115
"Blessedness of Benevolence" 115
"Doubtful Actions Are Sinful" 126
"Christ's Yoke Is Easy" 140
Notes 149
Chronology of Selected Sermons 161
Bibliography 167
Index 177
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