John Wesley (1703–1791), leader of British Methodism, was one of the most prolific literary figures of the eighteenth century, responsible for creating and disseminating a massive corpus of religious literature and for instigating a sophisticated programme of reading, writing and publishing within his Methodist Societies. John Wesley, Practical Divinity and the Defence of Literature takes the influential genre of practical divinity as a framework for understanding Wesley’s role as an author, editor and critic of popular religious writing. It asks why he advocated the literary arts as a valid aspect of his evangelical theology, and how his Christian poetics impacted upon the religious experience of his followers.
Methodism and the Defence of Literature: An Introduction
1 Methodist Literary Culture: Literacy and Grace
2 Wesley’s Christian Library: Practicality, Controversy and the Methodist Canon
3 Wesley in the Literary Sphere: The Methodist Miscellany
4 Wesleyan Poetics: Practical Divinity and the Function of Literature
5 Negotiating Nonconformity: Practical Divinity and the Politics of Methodist Hymnody
6 Experience, Experiment and Wesley’s Spiritual Autobiography
Editorial Board: Ted A. Campbell, David N. Hempton, Priscilla Pope-Levison, Martin Wellings and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker
Methodism remains one of the largest denominations in the USA and is growing in South America, Africa and Asia (especially in Korea and China). This series spans Methodist history and theology, exploring its success as a movement historically and in its global expansion. Books in the series will look particularly at features within Methodism which attract wide interest, including: the unique position of the Wesleys; the prominent role of women and minorities in Methodism; the interaction between Methodism and politics; the ‘Methodist conscience’ and its motivation for temperance and pacifist movements; the wide range of Pentecostal, holiness and evangelical movements; and the interaction of Methodism with different cultures.