It was ‘one of the most wonderful revivals in church history’, to be compared to the religious revival in the ‘days of Josiah towards the close of the Jewish monarchy’. This extravagant comment referred not to the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century, that paradigm of all religious revivals, but to something which the author, writing in 1912, characterized as ‘the Catholic Revival’.
The idea of a revival or resurgence in either the individual soul or the life of the Church as a whole is as old as Christian history. Yet in the vast recent explosion of scholarship on the subject of religious revival, the term itself and whole framework of discussion continues to be applied primarily to Protestant Evangelicalism. While religious resurgence has not been tied to a specific theological or denominational tradition, religious revival (which is often classified in terms of a hierarchy of significance from ‘Awakenings’ downwards) and especially ‘revivalism’ (a term used to describe religious movements of enthusiasm) has tended to become synonymous with Evangelicalism.