Cover image for The Methodists
The Methodists
Kirby, James E.
Personal Author:
Student edition.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger Publishers, 1998.
Physical Description:
xv, 279 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX8382.2.A4 K571 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This work assumes that the American Methodists developed in distinct fashion. It examines this American version, its organization, leadership, and form of training and incorporating new members. The authors treat Methodism as a commitment to episcopal leadership and various forms of piety.

Author Notes

He is Associate Dean of Academic programs and Professor of Church History at the Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

[PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED F 1 94, under Roman Catholics.]

Library Journal Review

This is the eighth in Greenwood's "Denominations in America" series and deals only with the development of American Methodism. Following the arrangement of other volumes in the series, it includes sections on history, a biographical dictionary of leaders, a chronology, and bibliographic essay. The history is approached structurally. In Part 1, James Kirby (history, Southern Methodist Univ.'s Perkins Sch. of Theology) traces the development of the episcopacy. In Part 2, Russell Richey (church history, Duke Univ.'s Divinity Sch.) discusses organization of clergy into conferences. In Part 3, Kenneth Rowe (church history, Drew Univ. Theological Sch.) describes the development of lay organizations such as the class meeting, probationer's class, and Sunday school. Each section incorporates predecessor and splinter organizations of Methodism such as Methodist Episcopal; Methodist Episcopal, South; Methodist Protestant; Evangelical Association; United Brethren; and African Methodist Episcopal. The book's strength is its detailing of Methodist organizational structures and its honest presentation of American Methodism's struggles with racism and sexism. Its weakness is in the limited treatment of women's role in Methodism, with only passing mention of the several women's organizations that were vital to Methodism's survival and growth. The biographical dictionary of Methodist leaders reflects the book's overall approach: the 75 entries include 68 men (one-half of whom were bishops) and seven women. Nevertheless, this is an essential addition to academic collections in religion and American history and is also appropriate for public libraries with collection strengths in those areas.¬ĎLinda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ. at Edwardsville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This is the eighth book in the series "Denominations in America," edited by Henry Warner Bowden. A goal of the series is to avoid the parochialism found in earlier efforts at denominational history and to set the history of each church in its broader social and religious context. The authors of this volume, all well versed in Methodist history, a basically successful in meeting this goal. The four-part structure of the book departs from the standard chronological approach. The first three focus on the history of bishops, conferences, and members (especially member education), respectively. Each section examines one of the "structures" of the Methodist Episcopal tradition. Other traditions that make up contemporary United Methodism are not discussed. The authors also chose not to focus on African Methodist denominations. The fourth section of the volume offers a relatively extensive (more than 100 pages) biographical dictionary of Methodist leaders, most of whom were mentioned in the earlier parts of the book. Scholars and students of religion in America will find this volume and the bibliographic essay included at the end helpful and enlightening. Upper-division undergraduate through professional. L. H. Hoyle Georgetown College

Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Bishops America Episcopacy Constitutional
Methodism Two Patterns of Episcopacy Conference
The Methodist Conference General Conference
A Continental Order Conference Politicized
Fratricide Formalization Pluralism Members
Making Moral Christians and Loyal Methodists Class
Meeting and Sunday School, 1816-1866
Sunday School for All, 1866-1915
From Class Meeting to Probationer's Class, 1866-1915
The Sunday School Renaissance, 1915-1935
Making Methodist Disciples, 1939-1968
A Biographical Dictionary of Methodist Leaders
Abbreviations used in This Volume Biographical Entries
A Chronology of American Methodism