Related Content

Related Overviews

Jonathan Edwards (1703—1758) theologian and philosopher


George Whitefield (1714—1770) Calvinistic Methodist leader


See all related overviews in Oxford Reference »


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History


Show Summary Details


Great Awakening

Quick Reference

An American revivalist movement, which was a response to the growing formalism of early 18th-century American Christianity. Though revivals began in New Jersey in 1719, the preaching of the Puritan scholar Jonathan Edwards (1703–58), and the resultant conversions in the 1730s gave it widespread recognition and influenced the founders of Methodism, the Wesleys. George Whitefield's mission (1739–41) won many converts from Pennsylvania to Maine, but his followers Gilbert Tennent and James Davenport precipitated schisms in both Congregational and Presbyterian Churches, which also affected colonial politics. In Virginia, Samuel Davies led revivals (1748–53) among the “New Side” Presbyterians. Baptists and Methodists also embraced the new movement. By questioning established authority, founding new colleges, and revivifying evangelical zeal, it helped to prepare the revolutionary generation in America.

Subjects: History

Reference entries

View all reference entries »