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Title: Revival and the Clash of Cultures: Ferryden, Forfarshire, in 1859
Author(s): Bebbington, David William
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Editor(s): Roberts, DW
Citation: Bebbington DW (2009) Revival and the Clash of Cultures: Ferryden, Forfarshire, in 1859. In: Roberts D (ed.) Seht: Revival, Renewal, and the Holy Spirit. Studies In Evangelical History and Thought. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, pp. 65-94.
Issue Date: 2009
Date Deposited: 13-Mar-2013
Series/Report no.: Studies In Evangelical History and Thought
Abstract: First paragraph: Revivalism, according to a jaundiced correspondent of the Montrose Review in 1859, was 'a vortex of mad excitement', usually 'the result of mental derangement'. Revivals are often thought to be irrational affairs, hysterical outbursts of unleashed emotion that are devoid of intellectual content. Consequently they are often dismissed by historians as hardly worth examination. Two recent works, however, go a long way towards showing how misconceived are the historical neglect and the disdainful estimate on which it is based. In an examination of the awakenings of the period 1858-62 in the north-east of Scotland, Ken Jeffrey has shown that revivalism was an internally variegated phenomenon reflecting the work patterns and social structures of different adjacent areas. In a second book Janice Holmes has laid bare how contested were the practices of the Ulster Revival of 1859, with some commentators in Britain as well as Ireland condemning what others approved. Revivals, it is clear from these accounts, were complicated happenings which sympathetic Evangelicals assessed in different ways. The present study, which is based on a single revival in the village of Ferryden contemporary with those researched by Jeffrey and Holmes, takes their analysis a step further by exploring the ideas of the people involved in the awakening. It examines the contrasting attitudes of various groups of preachers and converts participating in the events at Ferryden, bringing out their differences of opinion and identifying the roots of their disagreements. It tries to suggest that around a minor episode rival worldviews came into collision. In the microcosm of Ferryden we can witness a clash of some of the cultural forces that competed for the soul of Victorian Britain.
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