Subject Area

History, Religion, Theology/Religious Education


This dissertation provides a critical biography of Albert C. Outler, a prominent historian and theologian in modern Methodism and analyzes three significant emphases in his work: ecumenism, theology and psychology, and Methodist doctrine. The study begins with Outler's formative education and his ministry as a Methodist pastor in Georgia. Outler's doctoral education at Yale focused his work on discovering the connections of the "common history" of all Christians. The study then considers Outler’s extensive work in three interconnected disciplines: ecumenical studies, the study of religion and psychology, and Methodist theology and doctrine. The connection between these diverse subjects lies in the themes that Outler developed in the context of modern theological education. Outler believed that the Christian message must engage the most compelling and vital systems of intellectual thought and that true Christian courage invited a pluralistic context for an exchange of ideas. The dissertation concludes with an examination of the final decade of Outler's life and the ways his ideas and efforts did and did not prevail, particularly in United Methodist theology. Outler's legacy is secure in Methodist circles, but his work in ecumenism and the study of religion and psychology has been under appreciated and largely ignored. This study opens a conversation on future areas for investigation and encourages future scholars to examine Outler's limits as well as his triumphs.

Degree Date

Spring 5-13-2023

Document Type


Degree Name



Religious Studies


Ted A. Campbell

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Monday, May 04, 2026