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Experimental Theology in America
Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers
In this study of Madame Guyon and, her defender, Francois de Fénelon, the Archbishop of Cambray, Patricia Ward demonstrates how the ideas of these seventeenth-century Catholics were transmitted into an ongoing tradition of Protestant devotional literature—one that continues to influence American evangelicals and charismatic Christians today. Down a winding (and fascinating) historical path, Ward traces how the lives and writings of these two somewhat obscure Catholic believers in Quietism came to such prominence in American spirituality—offering, in part, a fascinating glance at the role of women in the history of devotional writing.
1 American Popular Piety and Continental Spirituality: The Ecumenical Contexts of Nineteenth-Century Holiness Camp Meetings
2 The Reputation of Madame Guyon: Personalities, Politics, and Religious Controversy under Louis XIV
3 The Dénouement of the Quietist Drama and Early Intermediaries to Protestant Circles
4 Madame Guyon and the Pietist Mind-Set: The Transmission of Quietism to German-Speaking Pennsylvania
5 The Praxis of Piety: Quaker and Methodist Mediation of the Works of Fénelon and Madame Guyon
6 Persons of Eminent Piety and Writers of Spiritual Wisdom: Fénelon, Madame Guyon, and Their American Readership, 1800-1840
7 From Experimental Religion to Experimental Holiness: Contexts of Thomas Upham’s Reinterpretation of Madame Guyon, 1840-1860
8 The Turn to Devotional Literature: Readers of Fénelon, From Boardman, Stowe, and Bushnell to Twentieth-Century Evangelicals
9 The Legacy of Madame Guyon from 1850 to 2000: From Romantic Sentimentalism to the Charismatic Movement
"Ward ... demonstrates the strong influence of seventeenth-century French Catholic Quietism on Protestant American piety.... This book will prove compelling not only to readers interested in Quietism but also to those interested in religious history, devotional literature and practice, or women's writing."
—Leigh Pittenger, Rhodes College, Religious Studies Review (2012, 38:4)
“This is an important book with an unusually convincing argument.”
—Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
"An immensely successful portrait of the sincerity and vigor of American faith."
—Thomas Pavel, Gordon J. Laird Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
"... this book is ecumenical history at its best."
—Mark Noll, Books and Culture (2010)
"Ward's careful handling of primary sources and her detailed reconstruction of Quietism’s legacy within American Protestantism guarantee her book an authoritative place at the table in future discussions of American popular piety."
—Chad P. Stutz, University of Mobile, Religion and the Arts 14 (2010)
"Patricia Ward's book presents the definitive history of the Quietist legacy in America. It is well written and carefully researched, and it helps to explain the persistent experimental appeal of American revivalism."
—The Journal of Religion (2012, 92:3)
"Patricia A. Ward's Experimental Theology in America is a detailed and remarkably erudite study on the impact that Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon and François de Fénelon, the Archbishop of Gambray, had on Protestant devotional literature from the eighteenth century onward. Ward provides a comprehensive explanation as to why these two Catholic mystics have proven to be such an enduring force within Protestant, Evangelical, and charismatic circles in the United States, particularly among Methodists and Quakers."
—Christianity and Literature (2011, 60:4)
Patricia A. Ward (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) is Professor Emerita of French and Comparative Literature at Vanderbilt University where she served as Director of the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies and Chair of the Department of French and Italian. She is the author or editor of six books and monographs, including Baudelaire and the Poetics of Modernity (2001), Joseph Joubert and the Critical Tradition (1980), and The Medievalism of Victor Hugo (1975). She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.