An Uncommon Christian
James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist
In America's Second Great Awakening

Book cover for An Uncommon Christian

By Dr. I. Francis Kyle III

Foreword by John F. Thornbury

Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, Jan. 2008

255 pages, paper ~ 38 photos ~ Index ~ Map
Bibliography ~ 22 international endorsements

ISBN (10 digit) 0761838627
ISBN (13 digit) 9780761838623

Content Summary & Table of Contents

An Uncommon Christian seeks to show how and why James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829) became a popular participant during America's Second Great Awakening, and why the Princeton graduate and Yale Seminary student grew to be a frequent example of evangelical Protestant spirituality and evangelistic passion long after his untimely death.

In addition to examining two published memoirs on Taylor (1833, 1838), the book covers Taylor's life, ministry, and spirituality within a cultural, philosophical, and theological context. Also included are a time line of Taylor's life, a chart comparing Taylor to missionary David Brainerd (Taylor's distant cousin made famous by Jonathan Edwards), a bibliography, and an index. Thirty-eight fascinating photos combined with Francis Kyle's engaging writing style allow the history to come alive.

Those interested in religious revivals, evangelism and missions, spirituality, early nineteenth-century American history, the integration of faith and action with university or seminary studies, or inspirational Christian biography—all will benefit from this exhaustive and long overdue book on a forgotten "hero" of the Protestant faith. Join scholars and non-scholars alike in discovering why James Brainerd Taylor was often compared to New England's David Brainerd (1718–1747), Scotland's Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813–1843), England's Henry Martyn (1781–1812), and other prominent eighteenth- and nineteenth-century, Christ-centered ministers who died young.

Be warned: upon reading this book, you may find yourself joining Scottish explorer-missionary David Livingstone and others from the past in longing to be what many contemporaries believed Taylor was—an uncommon Christian—"eminently holy, self-denying, cross-bearing, Bible, everyday Christian."

Table of Contents

Foreword by John F. Thornbury




  1. Two Memoirs
  2. Historical Context: Cultural, Philosophical, Theological
  3. Connecticut and New York City, 1801–1819
  4. Academy at Lawrenceville, 1820–1823
  5. Princeton University, 1823–1826
    (38 photos)
  6. Theological Seminary at Yale, 1827–1828
  7. Activity in Revivals
  8. Trips to the South and Death, March 1828–March 29, 1829
  9. Spirituality of an Uncommon Christian


  1. Chronology of the Life of James Brainerd Taylor
  2. David Brainerd and James Brainerd Taylor: A Comparative Chart



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