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Archibald Simpson's Unpeaceable Kingdom: The Ordeal of Evangelicalism in the Colonial South - Religion in American History (Hardback)
  • Archibald Simpson's Unpeaceable Kingdom: The Ordeal of Evangelicalism in the Colonial South - Religion in American History (Hardback)
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Archibald Simpson's Unpeaceable Kingdom: The Ordeal of Evangelicalism in the Colonial South - Religion in American History (Hardback)

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£70.00
Hardback 252 Pages / Published: 05/04/2018
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This book draws on the life of Presbyterian minister and diarist Archibald Simpson (1734-1795) to examine the history of evangelical Protestantism in South Carolina and the British Atlantic during the last half of the eighteenth century. Although he grew up in the evangelical heartland of Scotland in the wake of the great mid-century revivals, Simpson spurned revivalism and devoted himself instead to the grinding work of the parish ministry. At age nineteen he immigrated to South Carolina, where he spent the next eighteen years serving slaveholding Reformed congregations in the lowcountry plantation district. Here powerful planters held sway over slaves, families, churches, and communities, and Simpson was constantly embattled as he sought to impose an evangelical order on his parishes. In refusing to put the gospel in the pockets of planters who scorned it-and who were accustomed to controlling their parish churches-he earned their enmity. As a result, every relationship was freighted with deceit and danger, and every practice-sermons, funerals, baptisms, pastoral visits, death narratives, sickness, courtship, friendship, domestic concerns-was contested and politicized. In this context, the cause of the gospel made little headway in Simpson's corner of the world. Despite the great midcentury revivals, the steady stream of religious dissenters who poured into the province, and all the noise they made about slave conversions, Simpson's story suggests that there was no evangelical movement in colonial South Carolina, just a tired and frustrating evangelical slog.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498569903
Number of pages: 252
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 238 x 159 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Presbyterian pastor Archibald Simpson was one of the most prolific diarists in the colonial American South. His voluminous entries have gone largely untapped by historians until now. In Peter N. Moore's capable hands, Simpson's writings yield a fascinating account of religion and society in eighteenth-century South Carolina and the British Atlantic world. -- Thomas S. Kidd, Baylor University
Peter N. Moore's biography of Archibald Simpson is important, sweeping, and evocative. Moore writes with well-earned confidence and his rendering of Simpson's fascinating life is sure to attract a wide readership. While revealing the transnational context of religious revivalism, Moore never loses sight of the specific contexts of the localities that Simpson made home. Along the way, Moore's work illuminates plantation life and agriculture, racial slavery, deathways, medicine and sickness, eighteenth-century wars, and family values. Most impressive is Moore's singular capacity to understand and make accessible to present-day readers the mindset and spiritual struggles of eighteenth-century evangelicals. He explains that world with sensitivity, specificity, and nuance. -- Lorri Glover, Saint Louis University
In this gem of a book, Peter N. Moore captures both the expansive scope and the intimate details of a life lived amidst powerful transformations of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Archibald Simpson was neither famous nor particularly heroic, but his experiences of economic disruption, religious revival, enlightenment education, transatlantic evangelicalism, political revolution, and the paradoxes of slaveholding Christianity connected him to central events and figures in the making of that world. Moore's engaging reconstruction of Simpson's biography provides a sensitive account of these forces and how they shaped both individual and communal experiences from Scotland to South Carolina and beyond. -- Randolph Scully, George Mason University
Peter N. Moore conveys historians of the Great Awakening to a place we seldom go, the hot troubled world of Carolina and Georgia, where tales of overwhelming success and transformation appeared to stop at the borders. Moore's deep, nuanced reading of the extraordinary diary of Archibald Simpson brings new clarity to the driving forces igniting the passionate efforts of evangelical preachers and the powerful obstacles limiting their success. Illuminating insights about the spiritual anguish of a young boy, his youthful ambitions to work as a pastor, and his clerical work are framed by an unsparing portrait of colonial communities trying to build congregations and recruit pastors in the midst of congregational battles, political manipulation, and stalled efforts to cross the unbridgeable racial divisions against slavery. Within an arena that historians are increasingly framing as large and transatlantic, Moore convinces us to turn back to the power of the individual. -- Marilyn Westerkamp, University of California, Santa Cruz

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