In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS109 press too hard to find agreements where none exist. He sees his "originals" as resembling each other chiefly in what they reacted against, and in their accommodations , conscious or not, to the demands, needs, and desires of nineteenthcentury Americans. Edwin S. Gaustad University ofCalifornia, Riverside Primitivist Piety: The Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren. By James Patrick Callahan. [Studies in Evangelicalism. Volume 12.] (Lanham, Maryland : The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1997. Pp. xix, 287. $48.00.) In this study based on his doctoral work at Marquette Universityjames Callahan presents an intricate yet fascinating picture of the essence of Plymouth Brethren self-identity in the early 1800's. Scholars have often characterized the group as restorationist or primitivist, using the terms interchangeably. The author insists that such an analysis fails to discern an important conflict in Brethren thought between primitivism and restorationism. Callahan follows an introductory historiographical essay with four heavily documented chapters in which he briefly chronicles the early formation of the group, its place both among and against other British dissenters, and its role in British millenarianism and prophecy conferences. Ernest Sandeen characterized the Plymouth Brethren, particularly as seen in the theology ofJohn Nelson Darby, as a dispensational premillennial sect. One of Callahan's contributions in the book is to demonstrate that the group's primitivist ecclesiology, founded on a literalist reading of the New Testament, was responsible for Brethren eschatology rather than vice versa. The major argument ofthe book, however, is found in chapters six and seven. Here the author carefully delineates Brethren ideas of primitivism and restorationism . The difference is epitomized by, though by no means confined to, the stances of early leaders Anthony Groves and J. N. Darby. For Groves, true piety was wrapped up in a rigorous effort to bring Christians—all those saved by Christ—to an understanding of the primitive beliefs and practices of the early church and to restore those items in the churches. Darby and the majority of early Brethren rejected the possibility of such a restoration. True ecclesial piety meant separating from the evil and apostasy in the existing churches and humbly obeying God's word. The Bible never instructs believers to restore a dispensation lost to apostasy, Darby insisted. Darby's sectarian primitivism eventually won the day, not the restorationism of Groves. Callahan sees this point as a corrective to previous interpretations. He is careful to caution readers against reducing the identity of the Brethren movement in the 1830's to this debate, however, showing the movement's interaction with both the millennial Irvingite and primitivist Tractarian movements. 110BOOK REVIEWS As a member of a historically primitivist tradition (the Stone-Campbell Movement ) familiar with much of the recent scholarly literature on primitivism, my first reaction was that Callahan was trying to separate the bone from the marrow . In his final chapter, however, he is most convincing. Some may believe the conflict devolves into a matter of semantics. If so, Callahan has defined and explained his terms well in the context of an interesting re-examination ofthis important group. Douglas A. Foster Centerfor Restoration Studies Abilene Christian University Tejano Religion and Ethnicity: San Antonio, 1821-1860. By Timothy M. Matovina . (Austin: University ofTexas Press. 1995. Pp. xiv, 168. $24.95.) This reviewer apologizes for delaying so long in bringing this important monograph to the attention ofthe readers ofthis journal. This small book offers a lot more than its title might indicate to the unaware. It is a timely landmark in ethnic studies, Mexican-American studies, and studies of religion in the United States. In ninety-three pages of text and sixty-two pages of critical notes and bibliography , Matovina presents a thoroughly researched and tightly packed analysis of the complex interplay of ethnic, religious, and political allegiances in the formation of the self-identity of Téjanos (Texas residents of Spanish or Mexican descent ) in the first crucial decades of their interaction with Anglos in San Antonio. That town was the first major Mexican population center to be gradually absorbed into the expanding Anglo-American empire. In 1821 it was still a Mexican Catholic town in the new nation of Mexico, which had just gained its independence from Spain...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 109-110
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.