Howell Harris: From Conversion to Separation, 1735-1750

Howell Harris: From Conversion to Separation, 1735-1750

Howell Harris: From Conversion to Separation, 1735-1750

Howell Harris: From Conversion to Separation, 1735-1750

Synopsis

"... a lucid and scholarly account of this man's extraordinary career..." – Western Mail

"Good books on the Welsh revival in English for unlettered Sassenachs are not easy to come by, so this study of Howell Harris by the Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of Religion in Wales, which is a very good book indeed, deserves the warmest of welcomes... a splendid book." – Epworth Review

Excerpt

It is a measure of Howell Harris’s greatness that despite all criticism, both contemporary and later, he remains one of the giants of eighteenth-century Wales, if not of Welsh history in general. Much has been written about him, but, despite many of the facts concerning his life being made known, in many ways the man himself has remained an enigma. While Dr Geoffrey Nuttall pointed the student of Welsh Methodism in the right direction through his revealing glimpse into Harris’s mind and soul in Howel Harris, the Last Enthusiast (Cardiff, 1965), a broader analysis of Harris’s life and work is needed in order that the events of the first fifteen years of the Revival in Wales can be better understood. Only with the emergence of a clearer picture of the founder of Welsh Methodism will the formative years of the movement come into focus.

It is hoped that this book will contribute to this process. Based on a D.Phil. thesis submitted to the Faculty of Theology at Oxford University in 1989, it is an attempt to understand the man who contributed so much to the development of religion in Wales, and to do so through his own writings, principally his Diaries. These were, for the most part, studied and partially transcribed during a period of eighteen months spent at the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth, the first three months being devoted to mastering Harris’s difficult handwriting. Further transcripts were made during numerous subsequent visits, but progress was much hindered by a constant need to magnify the text and the occasional use of artificial ultra-violet light. Previous published transcriptions of the Diaries, made by others, were checked alongside the original, and as some errors were discovered, corrections are made at the relevant points in this study.

Due to the draconian limits of the thesis, one chapter had to be removed before submission. This was a study of the opposition encountered by Harris as an early Methodist leader. This has now been restored, and, though curtailed, it emphasizes the hardships which the Methodists were forced to endure as they endeavoured to proclaim their message. Several other parts of the thesis were . . .

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