JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Summer 2005) opted the call and response patterns from African American Christianity, sometimes through the medium of white camp meeting revivals, and added these plain folk songs to the existing canon of sacred music. Brown's work is pathbreaking in some important ways. Scholars of the come-outer movements in the late nineteenth century and of African American religion before and after the Civil War have made readers aware of the varying ways in which religious communities could define themselves. But the history of mainstream, white Christianity continues to be understandably captive of scholarship that focuses on how religious identity could support secession and Civil War. Brown's book represents another way to approach white denominational religion. Just as the emerging Presbygational missionary societies of the early nineteenth century illustrate the possibility of religious folk reaching across theological divides to find common ground to support missionary activity, so the modernizing mainstream denominational world of Victorian America seems to have found common ground amid the pressing demands of living a devout life and calling the lost to repentance. Brown's work also illustrates tensions quite familiar to students of evangelical history. A Bible or a copy of Ben
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Jun 13, 2005
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