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Religion in Enlightenment England
An Anthology of Primary Sources
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 how emotion came to be the center of religion. 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.
"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. She 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
"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
"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
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis is Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine.
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Other books by:
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis
Books in Series:
Documents of Anglophone Christianity
Religion in Early Stuart England, 1603-1638 - An Anthology of Primary Sources
Religion in Enlightenment England - An Anthology of Primary Sources
Religion in Tudor England - An Anthology of Primary Sources