American Saint

Paul Harvey

The boomlet in religious biography continues -- Joseph Smith, Aimee McPherson, George Whitefield, Dorothy Day, Walter Rauschenbusch, Henry Ward Beecher, W. E. B. DuBois, Catherine Tekakwitha, Richard Allen, Billy Graham -- all have received recent excellent scholarly biographical treatment from leading historians in the field.

Add to that list Francis Asbury, founder of Methodism in America, and the subject of John Wigger's new biography American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford, 2009). Down the road a bit we'll have a couple of folks put up their reflections on this text on the blog, but for now, just wanted to let everyone know of the book and also a session on the book at the upcoming AAR meeting in Montreal. Here's information on the session, for those interested:

Wesleyan Studies Group

Theme: Discussion of John H. Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Tuesday - 9:00 am-11:30 am (Nov. 10)

Douglas M. Strong, Seattle Pacific University, Presiding

Theme: Discussion of John H. Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Francis Asbury is one of the most important religious leaders in American history. He was largely responsible for creating the American Methodist church, the largest church in nineteenth century America and the foundation of much of the Holiness and Pentecostal movements. This session features a panel discussion of John Wigger's new biography of Asbury, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009). Wigger's work considers previously unexamined and underappreciated aspects of Asbury's personality and style of leadership, showing how and why his tireless activity led to the church’s expansion into every state and territory. Growth brought financial prosperity and social respectability, ultimately undermining the church’s culture of discipline, which in the end seemed a bitter irony to Asbury. Under his leadership, Methodism exerted a powerful influence on American culture, but was itself transformed in the process, a pattern repeated again and again in American religious history.


Russell E. Richey, Emory University
Ian B. Straker, Howard University
Jane Donovan, West Virginia University
Richard P. Heitzenrater, Duke University

John Wigger, University of Missouri


Tim said…
Phoebe Palmer? I haven't seen any recent dissertations and no biographies since White's _Beauty of Holiness_ (1986). Please enlighten me....
Paul Harvey said…
You're right, my bad -- I was thinking of books about Holiness and also the New York City revivals, which have mini-biographies of Palmer but not full length treatment. I revised the entry accordingly. Thanks, Paul
Christopher said…
This looks like a great session, and I'm sorry I'll miss it. If anyone reads this that is able to attend, I wonder if you could provide me with a brief review of what is said (or perhaps write a larger review of the session to be posted here on the blog). Feel free to email me at chrisjones13 AT gmail DOT com.

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