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When Benjamin Franklin Met the Reverend Whitefield

Enlightenment, Revival, and the Power of the Printed Word

Peter Charles Hoffer

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In the 1740s, two quite different developments revolutionized Anglo-American life and thought—the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. This book takes an encounter between the paragons of each movement—the printer and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin and the British-born revivalist George Whitefield—as an opportunity to explore the meaning of the beginnings of modern science and rationality on one hand and evangelical religious enthusiasm on the other.

There are people who both represent the times in which they live and change them for the better. Franklin and Whitefield were two such men. The…

In the 1740s, two quite different developments revolutionized Anglo-American life and thought—the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. This book takes an encounter between the paragons of each movement—the printer and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin and the British-born revivalist George Whitefield—as an opportunity to explore the meaning of the beginnings of modern science and rationality on one hand and evangelical religious enthusiasm on the other.

There are people who both represent the times in which they live and change them for the better. Franklin and Whitefield were two such men. The morning that they met, they formed a long and lucrative partnership: Whitefield provided copies of his journals and sermons, Franklin published them. So began one of the most unique, mutually profitable, and influential friendships in early American history.

By focusing this study on Franklin and Whitefield, Peter Charles Hoffer defines with great precision the importance of the Anglo-American Atlantic World of the eighteenth century in American history. With a swift and persuasive narrative, Hoffer introduces readers to the respective life story of each man, examines in engaging detail the central themes of their early writings, and concludes with a description of the last years of their collaboration.

Franklin’s and Whitefield’s intellectual contributions reach into our own time, making Hoffer's readable and enjoyable account of these extraordinary men and their extraordinary friendship relevant today.

Also in the Witness to History series

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The Caning of Charles Sumner: Honor, Idealism, and the Origins of the Civil War by Williamjames Hull Hoffer

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When Benjamin Franklin Met the Reverend Whitefield

Peter Charles Hoffer

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Reviews

Reviews

While the background information on the lives of these two great men is impeccably researched and written, this book is more than a biography of Franklin and Whitefield, but it is a study of their times and the relevance on their writings and teachings on their own culture as well as in today's culture... Very readable and interesting.

This book more than succeeds in achieving its goal of helping students understand and appreciate the cultural and intellectual environment of the Anglophone world.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
168
ISBN
9781421403120
Illustration Description
10 b&w photos
Table of Contents

Prologue: A Momentous Meeting
1. A Partnership of Mutual Convenience
2. Franklin Becomes a Printer and Whitefield Becomes a Preacher
3. Whitefield's Messages of Hope
4. Franklin's Essays on Improvement
5

Prologue: A Momentous Meeting
1. A Partnership of Mutual Convenience
2. Franklin Becomes a Printer and Whitefield Becomes a Preacher
3. Whitefield's Messages of Hope
4. Franklin's Essays on Improvement
5. A Great Awakening, the Enlightenment, and the Crisis of Provincialism
Epilogue: The Birth of the Modern World
Acknowledgments
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Peter Charles Hoffer

Peter Charles Hoffer, Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of Georgia, has published many books, including Law and People in Colonial America, second edition, John Quincy Adams and the Gag Rule, 1835–1850, Prelude to Revolution: The Salem Gunpowder Raid of 1775, and The Devil's Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, both published by the Johns Hopkins University...