PREFACE
This book analyzes the life and ministry of William J. Seymour, the Azusa
Street Revival, and his influence on global Pentecostal origins through
an introduction, biography, and documentary history. It is similar to and
yet diVerent from Larry Martin’s very fine theologically framed and self-
published eight-volume “Azusa Street Library.” The first volume is a biogra-
phy followed by seven short primary source books. As a Pentecostal “revival
evangelist,” he stated that he created the series to inspire “a hunger in the
hearts of the people of God.”
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This present book covers much of the same material in half of Martins’
eight volumes. It diVers because it is the most comprehensive collection
of materials on Seymour, Azusa, and his influence on Pentecostal origins
in one volume that is academic in tone, critical in analysis, comprehensive
in scope and vision, and yet also written for the general public. It also takes
a historical and phenomenological approach to the study of Pentecostalism
that seeks to—in the words of Mircea Eliade—interpret religious traditions,
experiences, and practitioners on their own plane of reference from a critical
but fair-minded scholarly perspective. Drawing on Ninian Smart’s method-
ological notion of bracketed realism, it seeks neither to aYrm or deny the
truth claims of its subjects, but rather to understand them in light of their
larger socio-religious context.2 Despite its comprehensiveness, it is not a gen-
eral history of Pentecostal origins and development in every single country
around the world, but rather a study that focuses exclusively on Seymour’s
life, Azusa Street revival, and influence on global Pentecostal origins from
1906 to 1912 in select countries like England, Norway, Sweden, Liberia,
South Africa, India, and China.
This book begins by defining key theological terms and phrases and
explains the diVerences between Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Neo-
Charismatics, and then provides a historiographical overview of how Sey-
mour has been interpreted over the past one hundred years. Next it provides
a short biography that analyzes Seymour’s life and ministry, his relation-
ship with Charles Fox Parham, both of their views on race relations, and
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