Comment on Keith Haartman's "Religious Ecstasy and Personality Transformation in John Wesley's Methodism: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations"

Abstract
Keith Haartman argues that childrearing practices distinctive of the English middle class in the 18th century produced a type of personality structure characterized by excessive splitting. Methodism proved popular because the Methodist experience providing a way of confronting and working through the conflicts generated by this sort of personality structure. Unfortunately, although Haartman's argument is plausible, there is little or no evidence to support his central contention: that the individuals who found Methodism most appealing were associated with the childhood experiences he posits. A somewhat different psychoanalytic interpretation of the same data that Haartman presents emerges when we pay attention to things, like the orality that pervaded the Methodist experience and the intended goal of the Methodist conversion experience, that Haartman ignores. This article concludes by suggesting that when psychoanalytic investigators study large-scale historical patterns, they would do well to recognize the limits of psychoanalytic explanation in this area
Keywords CONVERSION NARRATIVES   EIGHTEENTH CENTURY   CHILD REARING   PSYCHOANALYSIS   ORALITY   METHODISM
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DOI 10.1163/008467207X188540
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