Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

John Schmalzbauer


pentecostalism, hymns, testimony, memory, hermeneutics, narrative paradigm, lived religion, canonical approach, experience, old testament theology

Subject Categories



The Pentecostal movement has influenced the culture and theology of the American Church. The early Pentecostals, a marginalized people, told narratives in such a way that their stories echo through the rhetoric, theology, and hermeneutics of Pentecostals today. Their stories constructed a distinct identity that has been maintained through the media of song and testimonies—both oral and written. This study is an interdisciplinary exploration, drawing from communication theory, biblical studies methods, and lived religion approaches. It explores the role of memory in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (OT/HB), focuses on Pentecostals' supernaturalist ahistorical hermeneutics, and reflects on Pentecostals' use of hymns and testimonies in constructing and maintaining identity.This study holds the rhetoric of memory in the OT/HB and recitals of the acts of God in tension with Pentecostals' use of hymns and testimonies by asserting a narrative approach, and provides an interdisciplinary, interpretive perspective of these traditions. Pentecostals' didactic use of song and testimonies parallels the OT/HB recitals of the acts of God because of their rhetorical and epistemological dependence upon experience.


© Meghan D. Musy

Campus Only