Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the by John Corrigan

By John Corrigan

The "Businessmen's Revival" used to be a non secular revival that opened up within the wake of the 1857 marketplace crash between white, middle-class Protestants. Delving into the spiritual heritage of Boston within the 1850s, John Corrigan supplies an innovative and wide-ranging interpretive learn of the revival's value. He makes use of it as a focus for addressing a fantastic variety of phenomena in American tradition: the ecclesiastical and company background of Boston; gender roles and kinfolk existence; the background of the theater and public spectacle; schooling; boyculture; and, specially, rules approximately emotion in the course of this era. This vividly written narrative recovers the emotional studies of people from a wide range of little-used resources together with diaries, correspondence, public documents, and different fabrics. From those resources, Corrigan discovers that for those Protestants, the expression of emotion used to be a question of transactions. They observed emotion as a commodity, and conceptualized kin among humans, and among contributors and God, as transactions of emotion ruled via agreement. faith turned a enterprise relation with God, with prayer as its felony gentle. coming into this dating, they have been carrying out the "business of the heart." This leading edge learn exhibits that the revival--with its commodification of emotional experience--became an get together for white Protestants to underscore alterations among themselves and others. The reveal of emotion used to be a first-rate indicator of club within the Protestant majority, up to language, pores and skin colour, or costume sort. As Corrigan unravels the importance of those culturally built criteria for emotional lifestyles, his ebook makes an enormous contribution to contemporary efforts to discover the hyperlinks among faith and emotion, and is a crucial new bankruptcy within the historical past of faith.

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Given the city’s experiences with revivals that had come and gone over the course of the previous ten or twenty years, the quieting of the religious excitement was not unusual, and, in fact, it was expected. ” The great and general awakening for which Bostonians had prayed had not yet arrived, however. But the wheels were beginning to turn in that direction. As Frank Beardsley wrote, Finney’s preaching in Boston during the winter of 1856 –57 was a “forerunner” to the revival. 7 Lewis Tappan was impressed by the morning prayer meetings when he visited the city during Finney’s work there in the winter of 1856 –57.

The Liberator, mocking the maudlin quality of the petitions in prayer meetings, called the central feature of the revival a “theatrical prayer meeting,” while an insider at the Old South church referred to the “exhibitions of Christian experience . . ” Either way one viewed the matter, the element of performance was inescapable. And the course of the revival had in various ways underscored performance, none better than the highly publicized meetings in theatres themselves. A leading story in book-length accounts of the revivals and in newspapers everywhere was the transformation of Burton’s theatre on Chambers Street in New York into a room for prayer meetings.

For Parker, the revival was a retreat from confronting the five great evils of 1858, namely war, corruption of the federal government, slavery, a “war of business” that bred “robbers in a peaceful way,” and the subjugation of women. Ministers, who “come mainly from 01B-C1906 9/12/2001 11:43 AM Page 22 22 / Business of the Heart that class of people who are most affected by religious emotions,” and who “think they can tease God to do what they want done,” promoted emotional prayer as the focus of revival, and overlooked the necessity for reform, for unceasing work dedicated to the eradification of the world’s evils.

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