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The Devil's LaneSex and Race in the Early South$
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Catherine Clinton and Michele Gillespie

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195112436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195112436.001.0001

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Passion, Desire, and Ecstasy The Experiential Religion of Southern Methodist Women, 1770–1810

Passion, Desire, and Ecstasy The Experiential Religion of Southern Methodist Women, 1770–1810

Chapter:
(p.168) 12 Passion, Desire, and Ecstasy The Experiential Religion of Southern Methodist Women, 1770–1810
Source:
The Devil's Lane
Author(s):

Cynthia Lynn Lyerly

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195112436.003.0012

Methodism was a religion of daily emotional experience, and for southern women like Sarah Jones, the experience involved both soul and body. White Methodist women embraced, literally and figuratively, a God who deeply affect those aspects of the human experience that were associated by male critics with women's weaker nature. Black Methodists do not seem to have used erotic imagery in their accounts, but their visions of heavenly beings who personally appeared, spoke, and displayed heaven and hell in vivid detail to them indicate their rejection of “unfeeling philosophy” and secularized Christianity. The religious lives of women such as these reveal a far different mentality than historians usually associate with the early South. Enslaved Methodists experienced a soul-transporting, joyous intimacy with God that gave meaning and purpose to their lives and white women experienced a rich and vibrant world of passion, desire, and ecstasy.

Keywords:   Methodism, white Methodist women, black Methodist women, heavenly beings, unfeeling philosophy, secularized Christianity, God, experimental religion, Sarah Jones

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