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Blumhofer, Edith L. 1950–

Blumhofer, Edith L. 1950–

(Edith Waldvogel Blumhofer)

PERSONAL: Born April 24, 1950, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Edwin Hans (a pastor) and Edith (a homemaker; maiden name, Robinson) Waldvogel; married Edwin Blumhofer (a contractor), September 13, 1975; children: Jonathan, Judith, Christopher. Education: Hunter College, B.A., M.A., 1971; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1977.

ADDRESSES: Home—Wheaton, IL Office—Wheaton College, Westgate Alumni Building, 2nd Fl., Wheaton, IL 60187.

CAREER: Educator and writer. Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, professor of history, project director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE), 1987–93, director of ISAE, 1993–95, 1999–. Also worked as a grant officer for religion division of Pew Charitable Trusts; former administrative director, Martin Marty's public religion project at the University of Chicago.

MEMBER: American Historical Association, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Religion.

WRITINGS:

(As Edith Waldvogel Blumhofer) The Assemblies of God: A Popular History, Radiant Books (Springfield, MO), 1985.

The Assemblies of God: A Chapter in the Story of American Pentecostalism, Gospel Publishing House (Springfield, MO), 1989.

(Editor) "Pentecost in My Soul": Explorations in the Meaning of Pentecostal Experience in the Assemblies of God, Gospel Publishing House (Springfield, MO), 1989.

(With Joel A. Carpenter) Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: A Guide to the Sources, Garland (New York, NY), 1990.

Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1993.

(Editor, with Randall Balmer) Modern Christian Revivals, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1993.

Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister, W. B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1993.

(Editor, with Russell P. Spittler and Grant A. Wacker) Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1999.

(Editor) Religion, Politics, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2002.

(Editor) Religion, Education, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2002.

(Editor, with Mark A. Noll) Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Hymnody in the History of North American Protestantism, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2004.

(Editor, with Robert M. Fowler and Fernando F. Segovia) New Paradigms for Bible Study: The Bible in the Third Millennium, T & T Clark Intl. (New York, NY), 2004.

Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby, W. B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

Editor-at-large for Christian Century and corresponding editor for Christianity Today.

SIDELIGHTS: For more than twenty years, author Edith L. Blumhofer has studied, taught, and written about history, religion, and the intersection of the two. Much of her career has been spent as a professor of history at Wheaton College, where her specialties include American religious history, U.S. history, and the history of Christianity. She also serves as the direc-tor of the school's Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE). In addition, Blumhofer is a prolific author, having written or edited more than a dozen books and contributed to others. Her writing has appeared in a number of periodicals, and she has held editorial positions at Christian Century and Christianity Today.

In 1993, Blumhofer coedited Modern Christian Revivals with Randall Balmer. This book was the first of Blumhofer's to attain widespread recognition. The editors pulled together the collection of essays from a 1989 conference held at Wheaton College, providing readers with a diverse sampling of scholarship on revivalism that covers three centuries and three continents. The book exposes modern revivalism as an international movement but one rarely studied or recognized outside the United States. Critics praised the book and its editors for its unique insight on the subject. In a review for the Journal of American History, Harry S. Stout wrote that "these essays call on scholars to complicate their studies of revivalism in ways that will assure that the field will never again be quite the same."

That same year, Blumhofer published her first biography, Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister. The book explores the life and career of McPherson, a Canadian evangelist who became famous throughout North America during the early twentieth century. Blumhofer writes about McPherson's influences as a child, her work as a traveling preacher, and her establishment of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Reviewers and readers alike reacted positively to Aimee Semple McPherson. "Balanced and engrossing," was the description that one Publishers Weekly contributor gave to Blumhofer's biography. Others acknowledged the author's objective viewpoint and ability to place the controversial figure of McPherson in an historical context. "This is a thorough account and analysis of a life that made a significant impact on American society," observed Lindsay Throm in a review for Booklist.

Blumhofer's next book-length project ended in 1999 with the release of Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism. The volume is a collection of essays Blumhofer coedited with Russell P. Spittler and Grant A. Wacker. Written by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and theologians, the essays discuss, among other topics, the history of early Pentecostalism, the defined boundaries of Pentecostals and evangelicals, and the evolution of a distinctive Pentecostal theology.

Critics found much merit in Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism. Specifically, the book was cited for providing needed discussion about the intricacies of Pentecostalism's relationship with Christianity. "Pentecostals have triggered a realignment of the Christian community. This volume is an important contribution to the study of that development," observed Christian Century contributor Jeffrey Gros. Others found the book to be a welcome contribution to scholarship on the subject. Paul Harvey, in a review for Cross Currents, called Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism a "solid and useful volume."

In 2002 Blumhofer published Religion, Politics, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life. A collection of eight essays, edited by Blumhofer, the book developed from University of Chicago's Public Religion Project in the late 1990s. Essay authors include Jean Bethke Elshtain, John Witte, Jr., Stewart M. Hoover, and Mark Noll. The essays focus on a case study of evangelicalism and discuss, among other things, the history of evangelicals, the relationship among religion, politics, and the media, and the legal setting for religious liberty.

Religion, Politics, and the American Experience was viewed favorably by many reviewers. Writing for the Journal of Church and State, Gary M. Ross found Blumhofer's book to be "a magnificent read. It makes one think and encourages one to act." Others predicted that the book would serve as a needed addition to material on the subject. "Altogether this book will prove to be a very useful resource, more so than many others that utilize variations of the same title," observed John F. Wilson in a review for Church History.

Religion, Education, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life is also a collection of essays that came about as a result of the Public Religion Project. Written by various educators, the essays all hold a similar theme of promoting the study of religion in school. Some take the form of personal statements, a few discuss the history of religion and education, and others cover the relationship between church colleges and the religious traditions that sponsor them.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1993, Lindsay Throm, review of Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister, p. 725.

Chicago Sun-Times, February 13, 2005, Cathleen Falsani, "Where Are the Women?," interview with Blumhofer, p. 29.

Christian Century, March 2, 1994, Martin E. Marty, review of Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture, p. 232; February 2, 2000, Jeffrey Gros, review of Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, p. 152.

Church History, September 2003, Gaines M. Foster, review of Religion, Education, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life, p. 688; March, 2004, John F. Wilson, review of Religion, Politics, and the American Experience: Reflections on Religion and American Public Life, p. 235.

Communication Research Trends, spring, 2002, Paul A. Soukup, review of Religion, Politics, and the American Experience, p. 28.

Cross Currents, winter, 1999, Paul Harvey, review of Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, p. 566.

Journal of American History, March, 1995, Harry S. Stout, review of Modern Christian Revivals, p. 1664.

Journal of Church and State, summer, 2002, review of Religion, Politics, and the American Experience, p. 591.

Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1993, review of Aimee Semple McPherson, p. 56.

ONLINE

Wheaton College Web sitehttp://www.wheaton.edu/ (April 19, 2005), "Edith L. Blumhofer."

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