Academic journal article American Studies

WILLIAM J. SEYMOUR AND THE ORIGINS OF GLOBAL PENTECOSTALISM: A Biography and Documentary History

Academic journal article American Studies

WILLIAM J. SEYMOUR AND THE ORIGINS OF GLOBAL PENTECOSTALISM: A Biography and Documentary History

Article excerpt

WILLIAM J. SEYMOUR AND THE ORIGINS OF GLOBAL PENTECOSTALISM: A Biography and Documentary History. By Gastón Espinosa. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2014.

Gastón Espinosa's William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism rigorously and thoroughly demonstrates the importance and significance of African American William Seymour's and that of the Azusa Street Revival's roles in the origins and development of global Pentecostalism. Espinosa challenges the notion that Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival were "just one among many important leaders and centers of global Pentecostalism. Rather, they were the single most important leader, center, and catalyst (among many) in American (1906-9) and global Pentecostal origins until 1912" (151). Further, he asserts that while "Azusa wasn't the only center, it was the most important-both literally and symbolically prior to 1909 in the U.S. and prior to 1912 around the world" (151).

Participating in a group of scholars writing a new "Pentecostal historiography" (18), a key methodology that Espinosa employs to show the preeminence of Seymour and the Azusa Revival is through ephemeral documentary evidence by Seymour and others between 1906 and 1915. Espinosa relies on this documentation to stage his argument. However, to the advantage of readers, more than half of the book reprints this evidence. Espinosa uses letters, sermons, and teachings written by Seymour or preached as sermons and then stenographically recorded by Clara Lum and others between 1906 and 1909. This evidence includes Seymour's Doctrines and Discipline Minister's Manual (1915); first-hand accounts of the Azusa Street Revival and Seymour's leadership in Seymour's The Apostolic Faith newspaper (1906-1908). Other sources provide historical overviews and testimonies about Seymour and the Azusa Revival and their influence around the world from histories, autobiographies, testimonies, diaries, reports, newspapers, books, and journals to document Seymour's theological, social, and racial beliefs and his justification for black-white racial equality and reconciliation. …

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