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Front Matter

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Introduction One of the unexpected results of the Holiness Movement was a rise in the empowerment of Christian women, and the fact that this empowerment was not just relegated to the spiritual dimensions of life. It spread into social, political, and other public arenas. It is possible to trace this emergence back to Phoebe Palmer (Dec. 18, 1807-Nov. 2, 1874) and her strong role in the founding of the movement through a reinterpretation of John Wesley and John Fletcher’s views of sanctification. As Briane Turley (1999:50) quotes in his book, A Wheel Within a Wheel: Southern Methodism and the Georgia Holiness Association, “Historian Nancy Cott has observed that women’s prayerful contact with God enabled them ‘to assert themselves, both in private and public ways.’ Moreover, this contact with the transcendent helped them ‘to rely on an authority beyond the world of men and provided a crucial support to those who stepped beyond accepted bounds.’” Since Phoebe Palmer argued the empowerment and blessing of God through the Holy Spirit had greater authority than cultural and religious traditions that kept women from teaching and other positions of spiritual leadership, this understanding among Holiness women began to expand outside of purely religious circles. As Susie Stanley (1989:115) notes, “Wesleyan/Holiness women preachers directly challenged the doctrine of domesticity by extending their calling outside the home. Likewise, temperance women, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, spoke in public and attacked the evils of alcohol. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they moved outside the home to fulfill their calling.” The Temperance Movement was perhaps the first political and social force to emerge from the empowerment of Holiness women. It tied itself clearly to a moral issue with strong support within the Holiness world. It was an issue that had a clear impact on the family and the family’s finances. Women who could prevent husbands from turning to alcohol felt they could

Profile for First Fruits Press

Hannah Whitall Smith: The Feminist Connections of a Holiness Icon  

Robert A. Danielson

Hannah Whitall Smith: The Feminist Connections of a Holiness Icon  

Robert A. Danielson