In his new book The Evangelical Age of Ingenuity in Industrial Britain, Dr. Joseph Stubenrauch (History, Baylor) argues that British evangelicals in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries invented new methods of spreading the gospel, as well as new forms of personal religious practice, by exploiting the era’s growth of urbanization, industrialization, consumer goods, technological discoveries, and increasingly mobile populations. While evangelical faith has often by portrayed standing in inherent tension with the transitions of modernity, Joseph Stubenrauch demonstrates that developments in technology, commerce, and infrastructure were fruitfully linked with theological shifts and changing modes of religious life.
This volume analyzes a vibrant array of religious consumer and material culture produced during the first half of the nineteenth century. Mass print and cheap mass-produced goods–from tracts and ballad sheets to teapots and needlework mottoes–were harnessed to the evangelical project. By examining ephemera and decorations alongside the strategies of evangelical publishers and benevolent societies, Stubenrauch considers often overlooked sources in order to take the pulse of “vital” religion during an age of upheaval. He explores why and how evangelicals turned to the radical alterations of their era to bolster their faith and why”serious Christianity” flowered in an industrial age that has usually been deemed inhospitable to it.