George Whitefield at 300
An International Tercentenary Conference at Pembroke College, Oxford
Sponsored by Aberystwyth University, the Manchester Wesley Research Centre, the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, and The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University
2014 will mark the tercentenary of the birth of George Whitefield (1714-70), the eighteenth-century’s best known and most widely travelled evangelical revivalist. For a time in the middle decades of the eighteenth century, Whitefield was the most famous person in the Atlantic world. An Anglican clergyman, his ministry fuelled revival movements on both sides of the Atlantic. He was one of the fathers of Methodism, a founder of Calvinistic Methodism, but also the leading itinerant and international preacher of the evangelical movement in its first phase. Called the ‘Apostle of the English empire’, he preached throughout the British Isles, and crossed the Atlantic seven times, preaching in nearly every town on the eastern seaboard of America. His own fame and popularity were such that he has been called ‘Anglo-America’s first religious celebrity’, and even one of the ‘Founding Fathers of the American Revolution’. However, that celebrity and reputation may have distorted later understandings of him. He became an evangelical or denominational hero to some and a villain to others. His writings and manuscript papers were subjected to over-enthusiastic editors who wished to celebrate his achievements, preserve his reputation, or popularize him, rather than to understand him in his eighteenth-century context. The tercentenary of Whitefield’s birth presents an opportunity for a major reassessment of his life and context.
This conference, held at the Oxford college attended by Whitefield, attempts to explore Whitefield and his context in fresh detail.
- William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University; on Whitefield and the Church of England)
- David Ceri Jones (Aberystwyth University; on Whitefield and the evangelical revival)
- Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame; on Whitefield’s spirituality)
- Carla Gardina Pestana (University of California, Los Angeles; on Whitefield and Empire)
- Boyd S. Schlenther (Emeritus Aberystwyth University; on Whitefield’s personal life)
Registration: to register for the conference, contact Jo Middleton at email@example.com