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Aldersgate and Athens
John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief
In his day, John Wesley offered important insights on how to obtain knowledge of God that readily bears fruit in our own times. As premiere Wesleyan scholar William Abraham shows, Wesley's most famous spiritual experience is rife with philosophical significance and implications. Throughout, Abraham brings Wesley's works into fruitful conversation with some of the most important work in contemporary epistemology. Lyrically and succinctly he explores the simultaneous epistemological quest and spiritual pilgrimage that were central to Wesley and the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. In so doing, he provides a learned and eye-opening meditation upon the relationship between reason and faith.
Chapter 1 Faith and the Promises of God
Chapter 2 Faith and Personal Experience of God
Chapter 3 Faith and the Power of God
Chapter 4 Faith and Divine Revelation
"Abraham draws fascinating lines between Aldersgate and Athens that few could have imagined existed. Priority reading for philosophers of religion.”
—Jerry L. Walls, author of Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy and editor of The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology
"This is Abraham at his best. His thought-provoking comments throughout will engage the serious reader for years to come."
—Richard P. Heitzenrater, The Divinity School, Duke University
"William J. Abraham ... has given us a slim but rich volume on the epistemology he believes is extractable from Wesley's experience.... Abraham has done us all a favor by clearly and concisely organizing and arguing the evidence of Wesley's theological epistemology. The case he builds comes from a close reading of the text, and by bringing Wesley into conversation with modern philosophers of religion he has shown the continued relevance of this great evangelist and modern saint."
—Tony Hunt, The Living Church, January 30, 2011
"[Aldersgate and Athens] encourages believers to look less to a reasoned faith proportionate to the objective (external or public) evidence for theism and more to a faith which generates its own certainty in the encounter with God in revelation and experience."
—Graham Gould, Leyton, The Journal of Theological Studies (October 2010, 61:2)
"...this book is a wonderful addition to any Wesleyan scholar's shelf."
—Lee M. Jefferson, Centre College, Religious Studies Review (39:2, 2013)
William J. Abraham (D.Phil. Oxford University) is Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology. He is the author or editor of 16 books, including most recently Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church (with Jason E. Vickers and Natalie B. Van Kirk, 2008), Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation (2007), and Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology: From the Fathers to Feminism (2002). He lives in Dallas, Texas.