Religion in Enlightenment England
An Anthology of Primary Sources
Documents of Anglophone Christianity
420 pages, 7.00 x 10.00 in, hardcover does not include jacket
- Published: July 2017
Religion in Enlightenment England introduces its readers to a rich array of British Christian texts published between 1660 and 1750. The anthology documents the arc of Christian writings from the reestablishment of the Church of England to the rise of the Methodist movement in the middle of the eighteenth century. The Enlightenment era witnessed the explosion of mass print culture and the unprecedented expansion of literacy across society. These changes transformed many inherited Christian genres—such as the sermon and the devotional manual—while also generating new ones, from the modern church hymn to spiritual autobiography.
The authors included in this collection confronted the rise of modern science and forged new rules of modern toleration. Their writing reveals the unprecedented spiritual authority assumed by women and helps explain how emotion moved to the center of religious experience. Religion in Enlightenment England captures the literary energy and excitement unleashed by the Enlightenment itself: authors engage one another in spirited dialogue that pits reason against revelation, religious conformity against dissent, innovation against tradition, and Freethinking against natural religion.
An indispensable asset for any scholar’s library, the anthology includes texts by William Law, John Bunyan, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, John and Charles Wesley, Richard Baxter, John Toland, Mary Astell, Daniel Defoe, John Norris, Margaret Fell Fox, Isaac Watts, Thomas Traherne, John Tillotson, William Penn, and Anne Conway.
I. Anglican Apologetics
II. Dissenting Voices
III. The Methodist Movement
Elizabeth Singer Rowe
X. The Hymn
Nicholas Brady and Nahum Tate
XI. Spiritual Autobiography
Jayne Lewis’ Religion in Enlightenment England shows the centrality of religion and religious thought to the Enlightenment project in a series of well-chosen selections and helpful introductions. Lewis outlines the collaborative relationship of science and faith, the social importance of Christian sociability, the role of religious thought in shaping the novel, and the musical and spiritual influence of Methodism. This anthology will be a welcome supplement to courses that emphasize the place of religious thought in the age of restoration, experiment, and reason.~Misty G. Anderson, Lindsay Young Professor of English, University of Tennessee
In Religion in Enlightenment England, Jayne Lewis expertly represents the rich multiplicity of voices in Anglophone Christianity during the period of expanding print culture from the restoration of the Church of England through the Methodist revival. The picture that emerges is that of a conflicted society struggling mightily to manage religious differences. This collection is not just for eighteenth-century scholars of British literature. In the fullness of its primary materials and the excellence of its introduction and headnotes, it provides a valuable resource for thinking deeply about the complex history of the post-secular present.~Steven J. Mailloux, President’s Professor of Rhetoric, Loyola Marymount University
Seldom has an anthology of primary documents been as sorely needed, or as expertly edited, as this one. It is impossible to speak with authority about eighteenth-century British culture without understanding how biblical language, Christian values, and competitions among Protestant ideologies permeated that world. Lewis performs a great service with this trove of primary documents, texts once supremely influential but now often neglected. Every scholar and teacher of eighteenth-century studies needs to know the material collected in this invaluable volume.~Toni Bowers, Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
With substantial and beautifully written introductions to each major section and to individual authors, the whole of the volume is contextualized in light of the significant changes in scholarship on English religion in the last thirty years.~James E. Bradley, Reading Religion