Monday, February 21, 2011

Publications of John Wesley

As research for my Essential John Wesley small group study (and, by the way, that's not a firm title; not sure what I'll call it), I went searching for a bibliography of his works. Through the wonder of Google books and its advanced book search function, I found several. One I looked at today and printed is The Works of John and Charles Wesley: A Bibliography, by Rev. Richard Green, 1896. It includes 291 printed pages, including index, excluding front matter. It is a listing only of works by these two men, not about them.

This is the only Wesley bibliography I've looked at so far. I've looked at a lot of titles, and most of them indicate they are bibliographies of works by and about John and/or Charles. I'll want to look at one or more of those, but for now the Green Bibliography will suffice. It lists 417 printed works. As I haven't been all the way through it, I'm not sure if this includes compilations or issues of the Arminian Magazine by individual numbers. I saw that it had at least one year of those listed as a bound compilation. How much of that was written by Wesley and how much was by others I still have to research.

This is a great reference. For each work it gives: the full title page (the words thereon, not a facsimile), the name of the publisher, the date of issue, and all known editions in the 18th century. For many various annotations are included. Sometimes it's what a biographer said of the publication. Sometimes it's something Wesley said in his journal or an outgoing letter. Sometimes it's the editor's commentary, such as when he had a hard time identifying date, edition, printer, or whether the work is truly accredited to Wesley.

Some of that is for the work of the scholar, of course, which I'm not holding myself out to be. I love reading Wesley's works and reading about him, but I seriously doubt I would ever have the time needed to become a Wesley/Wesleyan scholar. I will be satisfied if I can really pull of this small group study. My pastor thinks it's a good idea. Between him, our youth pastor, my son-in-law, and on-line references, I have plenty of material, maybe too much. The trick will be to quickly digest all of this into a reasonable series of lessons, and then to write whatever I'm going to, and figure out how to disseminate it.

For sure the adult life group I co-teach Sunday mornings will become the trial group for this. I don't know how well they will take to it, or even if they will agree to doing it. Still, that's my plan. Stay tuned for more information.

No comments: