The Fire Spreads


Congratulations to our contributing editor Randall Stephens, whose book The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South has just appeared with Harvard University Press. This book is part of the exciting new scholarship (including works by Anthea Butler and Wallace Best, which we've previously blogged about) on Holiness-Pentecostalism. Here is what I wrote about the text previously:

The reader really gets a feel for the restless, cantankerous, innovative, and disputatious characters who were involved in early H/P in the South. . . These folks, Stephens’s subject, have been subject to treatments both dismissive (the usual take) or nearly hagiographic; we see them here properly placed in historical context, as complicated religious figures pressing at the margins of southern society, undeterred by frequent scandals and internecine dispute, traveling constantly, delighting in acts of persecution, and testing the boundaries of religious ecstasies. Stephens frequently uses the phrase “restless visionaries,” which I think captures them perfectly.

Grant Wacker's take:

Randall Stephens' book represents sedulous research, balanced judgment, and impressive imagination. It stands as a work of exceptional importance in the rapidly developing fields of holiness, pentecostal, and southern cultural and religious history.


Luke Harlow said…
Congratulations, Randall! I look forward to reading it.
Anonymous said…
I saw it at the AAR; looks fabulous. Between Anthea Butler, Randall Stephens, and Matthew Sutton, it appears that that we all need to re-tool our understandings of Pentecostalism!

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