Perspectives on American Methodism: Interpretive Essays
Russell E. Richey, Kenneth E. Rowe, Jean Miller Schmidt
Kingswood Books, Jan 1, 1993 - Religion - 596 pages
The essays presented in this volume represent the best in classic and recent historical scholarship on American Methodism. The accent falls on United Methodism in the U.S. and the traditions contributory to it. These essays provide new perspectives and fresh readings on important Methodist topics; they open up new avenues for Methodist self-understanding; they give indepth or case-study attention to subjects that overviews must slight.
Several of these essays look at standard themes in Methodist historiography and do so in classic intellectual history style. A number exhibit relatively new methods and/or attend to topics previously unexplored or underexplored. Several, for instance, belong to the field of social history. They draw our attention away from elites, from doctrine, from the clergy. Instead, they examine how and in what ways Methodism appealed to the common folk and how it configured itself as a folk movement. Similar findings derive from the number of essays that explore gender, women's roles, the family, and women's organizations.
Less novel, perhaps, are the topics of race and ethnicity, scarcely new issues for Methodism, but nevertheless deserving fresh insight. Here also are new readings of spirituality, worship, the diaconate, stewardship, organization, ecumenism, reform, and ordination (male and female, black and white). Less conventional subjects include the relation of Methodism to the American party system and Methodist accumulation of wealth and the wealthy. Several authors apply recent theory concerning narrative to the Methodist saga.
The reader will find in this volume some fresh perspectives on the Methodist past. All of these essays have appeared elsewhere, but many in useful collections that are now out of print. This collection should serve the serious student of Methodist history and can best be used along with a standard narrative.
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