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Experimental Theology in America

Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers

Patricia A. Ward

Publication Year: 2009

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.

Published by: Baylor University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

In the eighteenth century, western Protestantism was characterized by an overarching consciousness and set of values, a “protestant frame of mind.” The increase in literacy and the circulation of ideas through letters, personal contacts, the press, and translations contributed to this frame of mind and to a desire for religious unity that would extend beyond existing confessional boundaries.1

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pp. xv-xvi

The early stages of research for this book were made possible by leaves granted by Wheaton College and by Vanderbilt University. I also benefited from a fellowship to participate in a summer Coolidge Research Colloquium of the Society for Religion and Intellectual Life. My understanding of Madame Guyon and her context was enriched by my participation in the “Rencontres autour de la vie et l’oeuvre de Madame Guyon” held in Thonon-les-Bains, France, in 1996. ...

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1 American Popular Pietyand Continental Spirituality: The Ecumenical Contexts of Nineteenth-CenturyHoliness Camp Meetings

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pp. 1-10

The origin and evolution of a book often involve unexpected discoveries that lead to a complex problem. Such is the case with this study.1 Years ago I observed that the writings of two seventeenth-century French Catholics, Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Mothe (or, Motte) Guyon, better known as Madame Guyon, and Fran

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2 The Reputation of Madame Guyon: Personalities, Politics, and Religious Controversy under Louis XIV

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pp. 11-40

John Wesley published his abridged version of the autobiography of Madame Guyon because he was concerned about the response of early English Methodists to her life, that is, to the power of her account of her spiritual experience. Although he emphasized in his preface that Madame Guyon was an eminently good woman favored with “uncommon communications” of God’s spirit, he expressed concern about the autobiography as a whole. ...

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3 The D

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pp. 41-57

While Jeanne Guyon was confined first at Vincennes and then in the Bastille, an increasingly public dispute between Bossuet and F

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4 Madame Guyon and the Pietist Mind-Set: The Transmission of Quietism to German-Speaking Pennsylvania

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pp. 59-82

The rise of various expressions of a religion of the heart gave birth to a Protestant theology of experience that Georges Gusdorf has labeled “European Pietism.” Across the Continent and in England, subjective religious experience counterbalanced the ever more powerful Enlightenment doctrines of reason, progress, and optimism that were accompanied by the critical study of the Bible and by skepticism regarding special revelation. ...

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5 The Praxis of Piety: Quaker and Methodist Mediation of the Works of F

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pp. 83-106

Despite Fénelon’s ecclesiastical and political eclipse at the end of the seventeeth century, his stature grew so quickly that it is difficult today to comprehend the extent of his popularity. The rapid translation of his works and the idealization of his life contributed to his reputation. Nevertheless, the reading public responded to another strain in his works. ...

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6 Persons of Eminent Piety and Writers of Spiritual Wisdom: Fénelon, Madame Guyon, and Their American Readership, 1800–1840

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pp. 107-127

The writer of Telemachus was held in such esteem that, as his spiritual writings became known, they also joined the corpus of common reading material in early America. The great Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) listed among his early reading not only Telemachus but also Fénelon’s “Pious Thoughts” and the Spiritual Works.1 ...

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7 From Experimental Religion to Experimental Holiness: Contexts of Thomas Upham’s Reinterpretation of Madame Guyon, 1840–1860

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pp. 129-167

In the late 1830s, two new periodicals appeared that represented the unique blend of pietism, revivalism, and Christian perfectionism that gave birth to the holiness movements of nineteenth-century America.1 The Oberlin Evangelist began publication in 1837; this was the vehicle for the theology of a second conversion leading to Christian perfection as preached by the evangelist Charles Grandison Finney, who had become a professor of theology at Oberlin College in 1835. ...

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8 The Turn to Devotional Literature: Readers of F

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pp. 169-188

As Phoebe Palmer had prayed, Thomas Upham’s influence was not limited to the holiness movement that grew out of Methodism.1 Upham’s works on the interior life and on the Catholic forerunners of “holiness” coincided with a much broader movement in North America, England, and then the Continent. ...

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The Legacy of Madame Guyon from 1850 to 2000: From Romantic Sentimentalism to the Charismatic Movement

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pp. 189-205

Phebe Upham (1804–1882) began to contribute articles to the Guide to Christian Perfection in September of 1840; these early pieces were short “Sacred Meditations,” usually based on a verse or phrase of Scripture.1 There was a Quietist flavor to many of the devotionals; they were also permeated by the language of sentiment that touched the hymnody, poetry, and personal testimonies of those caught up in the revivalism of the deeper life or of personal holiness...

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pp. 207-211

In speaking of the readers of the works of Madame Guyon and of F


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pp. 213-254


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pp. 255-271


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pp. 273-279

E-ISBN-13: 9781602585102
E-ISBN-10: 1602585105
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602581975
Print-ISBN-10: 1602581975

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 794928065
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Experimental Theology in America

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Church history.
  • Geschichte 1800-1860 -- swd.
  • Pietism -- United States -- History.
  • Guyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte, 1648-1717.
  • Quietism -- United States -- History.
  • Fénelon, François de Salignac de La Mothe-, 1651-1715.
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