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Anecdotal Manifestations of the Evangelical Here and Now: Four Conversions in Jonathan Edwards’s Northampton

Frank Kelleter

Abstract

This essay discusses the close affinity between religious rhetoric and anecdotal storytelling, focusing on evangelical notions of mediated immediacy during the Great Awakening (1730s to 1740s). In particular, it deals with four conversion accounts contained in Jonathan Edwards’s writings on the religious revival in Northampton, Massachusetts. The essay argues that the ideological and soteriological work of these and other evangelical anecdotes is dependent, most of all, on their communicative velocity (rather than their formal brevity).

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