Chapter

<i>Introduction</i>

D. Bruce Hindmarsh

in The Evangelical Conversion Narrative

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199245758
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602436 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245754.003.0001
  Introduction

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Beginning with a case study of the conversion narrative of the Methodist Sampson Staniforth, the introduction raises questions about how such subject matter is to be treated. Two sorts of context are provided for the chapters that follow: the first theoretical and the second historical. In the first instance, evangelical conversion narrative is situated within a multi-disciplinary discussion by clarifying five central concepts that figure largely in any analysis of a story such as Staniforth’s: autobiography, narrative, identity, conversion, and gospel (evangelical). Then, secondly, in the balance of the introduction, the stage is set for the rise of the genre in the early modern period through a survey of forms of spiritual autobiography during the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance periods when conversion narrative of the sort written by Sampson Staniforth did not exist. The introduction concludes that popular conversion narrative appeared in the mid-seventeenth century, on the trailing edge of Christendom and the leading edge of the modern period, and the conditions for its appearance include the intensification of a sense of introspective conscience and self-determination.

Keywords: ancient; autobiography; Christendom; conscience; conversion; gospel; identity; medieval; modern; narrative; Renaissance; self-determination; theoretical

Chapter.  15210 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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