I just got in the mail my long-awaited copy of Anthea Butler's Women in the Church of God in Christ, a revision of her Vanderbilt dissertation. Congratulations to Anthea and to her editor and mine, Elaine Maisner at UNC Press.
Albert Raboteau writes of her book: With this book Anthea Butler has made a major contribution to our understanding of the history of Pentecostalism and to the religious history of African American women. This is a pathbreaking work.
The appearance of Anthea's book gives me a good chance, as well, to plug our contributing editor Randall Stephen's review essay on early Pentecostalism, which was posted a few years ago at the now-in-hibernation American Religious Experience. There's not a better place to start for serious study in the subject. Randall's book on the early Holiness movement will be out soon; you'll hear about it here as soon as it is.
Randall's opening paragraph gives a sense of the importance of the subject:
Pentecostalism is arguably the most important mass religious movement of the twentieth century. Today, this movement is the second largest sub-group of global Christianity. It has over 30 million American adherents and a worldwide following of 430 million.1 Pentecostalism’s inauspicious beginnings at the turn of the century make the movement’s growth all the more surprising. This essay will examine how historians have interpreted the origins of American Pentecostalism and will suggest some areas for further study.
In the essay, Randall writes that "the role of women in the early movement in particular has received slight attention." Thanks to recent works by Anthea, Wallace Best, and others, that scholarly neglect is getting some overdue attention.