Metuchen, N. J. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1975. 081080798x. The ATLA (American Theological Library Association) Monograph Series, No. 6. 8vo. 8-7/8" x 5-7/8". Green cloth stamped in white. 354 pp. Item #989
"Theologians operating in isolation always risk religious sterility, confusing truth with its propositional forms. And, worse than lifelessnes, they risk more error than they need to, because (although ultimate truth is admittedly beyond the capacity of any mortal) the approximation of truth is more nearly possible when it is seen in the reflected light of folklore, than when it is pursued in the limits of pure reason alone. God is both what he is and what men understand him to be. The choice between humanism and revelation is not only artificial, it is unnecessary as well. The history of missions cannot be recorded in statistics, or even as the story of the power of logical conclusions. Rather it is the account of how people - nourished in one tradition - discover within another a resonance sympathetic to the deepest needs of their consciousness, with the result that they are affected by, and affect a new faith. The force of evidence of such double metamorphosis to be found in the study of folklore is abundant. Professor Byrne has created a careful and lively study in folklore and a contribution to understanding of religion in general. He also affords us three additional insights: he has gathered fugitive materials relating to the insignificant chapters in social history and arranged them so that they both explain and describe distinctive elements in the American story. He has written of a peculiar dimension of American Methodism in such a way as to make possible not simply the recognition of the difference between the native and British phenomenon, but a partial understanding of why and how the difference came into existence.