Harrell, David Edwin, Jr. 1930-
HARRELL, David Edwin, Jr. 1930-
PERSONAL: Born February 22, 1930, in Jacksonville, FL; son of David Edwin (a physician) and Mildred (a homemaker; maiden name, Lee) Harrell; married Adelia Roberts (a homemaker), September 6, 1956; children: Mildred Susan Harris, David Edwin III, Elinor Elizabeth Roberts, Marilyn Lee, Harold Robert. Education: David Lipscomb College, B.A., 1954; Vanderbilt University, M.A., 1958, Ph.D., 1962.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5207.
CAREER: East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, assistant professor, 1961-64, associate professor of history, 1964-66; University of Oklahoma, Norman, associate professor of history, 1966-67; University of Georgia, Athens, associate professor of history, 1967-70; University of Alabama in Birmingham, professor of history, 1970-76, chairman of department, 1970-81, University Scholar in History, 1976-81, University Scholar in History, 1985-90; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Distinguished Professor of History, 1981-85; Auburn University, Auburn, AL, Daniel F. Breeden Eminent Scholar in the Humanities, 1990—. University of Allahabad, senior Fulbright lecturer, 1976-77; special lecturer at universities and conferences in India, Bangladesh, and the United States. Frequent television and news commentator on American religion.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, American Society of Church History, Organization of American Historians, Disciples of Christ Historical Society (member of board of trustees, 1968-73), American Academy of Religion, Southern Historical Association (member of various committees, 1968-84).
AWARDS, HONORS: Faculty research grants, University of Alabama in Birmingham, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977; Institute of Ecumenical and Cultural Research fellow, 1974, 1980.
A Social History of the Disciples of Christ, Volume 1: Quest for a Christian America, Disciples of Christ Historical Society (Nashville, TN), 1966, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2003; Volume 2: The Social Sources of Division in the Disciples of Christ, Publishing Systems, 1973, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2003.
(With Robert O. Fife and Ronald E. Osborn) The Disciples and the Church Universal, Disciples of Christ Historical Society (Nashville, TN), 1967.
White Sects and Black Men in the Recent South, Vanderbilt University Press (Nashville, TN), 1971.
All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1975.
(Editor) Varieties of Southern Evangelicalism, Mercer University Press (Macon, GA), 1981.
Oral Roberts: An American Life, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1985.
The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2000.
(Coauthor) American Origins of Churches of Christ: Three Essays on Restoration History, ACU Press (Abilene, TX), 2000.
Cogeneral editor of "Minorities in Modern America" series, Indiana University Press. Contributor of more than forty articles and reviews to history journals.
SIDELIGHTS: David Edwin Harrell, Jr., has written several books about churches and religion in the United States, as well as biographies of two conservative Christian leaders, Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson. Oral Roberts began his career as an evangelist in the 1950s, holding huge revival meetings and eventually televising them as well. In time, Roberts became one of the most-watched of all televangelists. His ministry has been a resounding financial success, allowing him to build an empire that includes Oral Roberts University, the City of Faith medical complex, and a large convention center. "With the possible exception of Billy Graham, no American religious figure of the last 40 years has had Roberts's reach or impact," wrote Alan Brinkley in New Republic. Despite his influence, Roberts has attracted "relatively little serious attention from journalists or historians," continued Brinkley. Harrell has corrected that situation with Oral Roberts: An American Life, which Brinkley called "an exhaustively researched and richly detailed study." Besides giving insight into Roberts himself, the book also sheds light on the religious culture Roberts has built up around his ministry.
One of Roberts's early disciples was Pat Robertson, who later went on to make a name for himself as a major religious and political figure. Robertson eventually founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, and even made a run for the White House in 1988, the year Harrell published Pat Robertson: A Personal, Religious, and Political Portrait. The author explains Robertson's background and his world view. Based on his interpretation of the Bible, in particular the Book of Revelation, Robertson believes that the world is facing a period of war, troubled economic times, and natural disasters, leading up to the second coming of Christ. Nation reviewer Sara Diamond cautioned that this biography is "sanitized" and slanted heavily in Robertson's favor. She noted that Robertson's involvement in national and international politics is hardly scrutinized. While finding faults with the book as a whole, she nevertheless allowed that "Harrell does have a useful chapter on evangelicals in which he disentangles some of the consuming theological threads within the charismatic movement."
In The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, Harrell tells "the remarkable but sad tale of internal strife and division inherent in the Churches of Christ, a religious movement ironically dedicated to nondenominational Christian unity," related Charles S. North in Journal of Church and State. Homer Hailey was a well-known member of the Churches of Christ, and his story provides a vehicle for which the author can examine the development of this religious movement. North commented: "Harrell's book is a substantial work. It deserves wide reading among students of church history and those interested in American religious life in the twentieth century."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Christian Century, November 6, 1985, Richard Quebedeaux, review of Oral Roberts: An American Life, p. 1008.
Christianity Today, October 17, 1986, Mark A. Noll, review of Oral Roberts, p. 59.
Commentary, February, 1986, Terry Teachout, review of Oral Roberts, p. 76.
Humanist, September-October, 1987, Delos B. McKown, review of Oral Roberts, p. 45.
Journal of American History, March, 1986, Edwin S. Gaustad, review of Oral Roberts, p. 951.
Journal of Church and State, spring, 2001, Charles S. North, review of The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, p. 366.
Journal of Southern History, February, 1987, David T. Bailey, review of Religion in the South, p. 94, William Martin, review of Oral Roberts, p. 134.
Library Journal, June 15, 1985, Mel Piehl, review of Oral Roberts, p. 65.
Los Angeles Times, December 30, 1985.
Nation, February 13, 1988, Sara Diamond, review of Pat Robertson: A Personal, Political and Religious Portrait, p. 207.
New Republic, September 29, 1986, Alan Brinkley, review of Oral Roberts, p. 28; April 25, 1988, Sean Wilentz, review of Pat Robertson, p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, June 21, 1985, review of Oral Roberts, p. 88; January 8, 1988, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Pat Robertson, p. 68.
Times Literary Supplement, March 7, 1986.
Washington Post Book World, October 13, 1985.*