A Pentecostal "Legend": A Reinterpretation of the Life and Legacy of Smith Wigglesworth, October 2015
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Author's abstract: There is an extensive publishing industry around the life and ministry of Pentecostal "legend", Smith Wigglesworth, including four biographies. However, as yet there has never been an academic biography produced. This thesis attempts to fill this gap in Pentecostal historiography. Wigglesworth’s journey to becoming a world-wide Pentecostal healing evangelist was a long process, impacted by the religious influences on his life and its subsequent consequences. Yet, he has been overshadowed in academic circles by the mythology surrounding him. These findings expose that the legends have been created by Wigglesworth himself. This has evolved through his revelations and subsequent portrayal of himself as a spiritual giant. Of significance were his claims of raising people from the dead, which demonstrated the extent of his extraordinary faith. This investigation also reveals that the biographers and later authors have and continue to further develop these myths, through their inaccurate and often embellished accounts. Despite the mythology, the evidence highlights Wigglesworth played an important role in the early development of Pentecostalism and continues to impact Pentecostals around the world today. In light of this, Wigglesworth’s legacy needs to be viewed in two separate parts, the historical and the mythological.
- October 2015
- Carp, Sandra Anne (Author, Person)
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