He contends that Deism owes its enduring significance to the rhetorical acumen, textual resources, and iconoclastic motivation of skilled controversialists who sought nothing less than the destruction of Christianity.
Author: James A. Herrick
Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press
The Radical Rhetoric of the English Deists illuminates the major battlefields of a rhetorical war waged for the religious mind of Britain and eventually of Europe and the colonies. Focusing on the works of lesser-known but highly influential Deists - Charles Blount, John Toland, Thomas Chubb, Thomas Woolston, Jacob Ilive, and Peter Annet - whose radically controversial spirit and willingness to absorb enormous personal risks made Deist controversy so intriguing and consequential, James A. Herrick examines the long polemic between the English Deists and the Church of England that marked the years between 1680 and 1750. He contends that this sweeping critique of traditional Christian thought owes its lasting impact to the rhetorical acumen, textual resources, and iconoclastic motivation of skilled controversialists who sought nothing less than the destruction of Christianity.
It was religious liberalism taken one step further, involving a combination of the
rational theology of Hales, Chillingworth and Tillotson with ideas taken from
Hobbes, Locke and Newton.11 For Stephen, English deism was a rationalist
Author: Wayne Hudson
Interprets the works of an important group of writers known as 'the English deists'. This title argues that this interpretation reads Romantic conceptions of religious identity into a period in which it was lacking. It contextualizes these writers within the early Enlightenment, which was multivocal, plural and in search of self definition.
84–8; Peter Harrison, 'Religion' and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (
Cambridge, 1990), p. 162; James A. Herrick, The Radical Rhetoric of the English
Deists: The Discourse of Skepticism, 1680–1750 (Columbia SC, 1997), p. 205 ...
Author: Wayne Hudson
Given the central role played by religion in early-modern Britain, it is perhaps surprising that historians have not always paid close attention to the shifting and nuanced subtleties of terms used in religious controversies. In this collection particular attention is focussed upon two of the most contentious of these terms: ’atheism’ and ’deism’, terms that have shaped significant parts of the scholarship on the Enlightenment. This volume argues that in the seventeenth and eighteenth century atheism and deism involved fine distinctions that have not always been preserved by later scholars. The original deployment and usage of these terms were often more complicated than much of the historical scholarship suggests. Indeed, in much of the literature static definitions are often taken for granted, resulting in depictions of the past constructed upon anachronistic assumptions. Offering reassessments of the historical figures most associated with ’atheism’ and ’deism’ in early modern Britain, this collection opens the subject up for debate and shows how the new historiography of deism changes our understanding of heterodox religious identities in Britain from 1650 to 1800. It problematises the older view that individuals were atheist or deists in a straightforward sense and instead explores the plurality and flexibility of religious identities during this period. Drawing on the most recent scholarship, the volume enriches the debate about heterodoxy, offering new perspectives on a range of prominent figures and providing an overview of major changes in the field.
Nor does he address the rich list of divine attributes that most English deists
discovered via natural religion. In mentioning these English deists, he implies
that Hume's alleged attenuated deism is a variety of their deism, but this
Author: Timothy S. Yoder
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
David Hume, one of the most influential philosophers to have written in the English language, is widely known as a skeptic and an empiricist. He is famous for raising questions about the existence of things for which there is insufficient empirical evidence, such as souls, the self, miracles, and, perhaps most importantly, God. Despite this reputation, however, Hume's works contain frequent references to a deity, and one searches in vain to find a positive assertion of atheism. This book proposes a different reading of Hume on God, in which Hume is seen as proposing a 'genuine theism'. Yoder investigates Hume's use of irony and his relationship with the Deists of his era and offers a thorough re-examination of Hume's writings on religion. Yoder concludes that, despite Hume's criticisms of the church, religiously-based ethics and the belief in miracles, he stops well short of a rejection of the existence of God. Always a creative thinker, Hume carves out a unique conception of the divine being.
136–9,505–8) to pre-nineteenth-century English contributions to comparative
religion. Eric Sharpe's more recent Comparative Religion: A History (London:
Duckworth, 1975), 2nd edn (1987), deals with 'deist' contributions to comparative
Author: Peter Harrison
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This book shows how the concept of 'religion' and 'the religions' arose out of controversies in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England. The birth of 'the religions', conceived to be sets of beliefs and practices, enabled the establishment of a new science of religion in which the various 'religions' were studied and impartially compared.
[ 6 ] The English Deists and the Traité Rienk H . Vermij ( UNIVERSITY OF
GRONINGEN ) S IS KNOWN , Margaret Jacob in her book The radical
Enlightenment has suggested a link between John Toland and the Traité des
trois imposteurs – in ...
Author: Silvia Berti
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
'the oldest biography of Spinoza', La Vie de Mr. Spinosa, which in the manuscript copies is often followed by L'Esprit de M. Spinosa. Margaret Jacob, in her Radical Enlightenment, contended that the Traite was written by a radical group of Freemasons in The Hague in the early eighteenth century. Silvia Berti has offered evidence it was written by Jan Vroesen. Various discussions in the early eighteenth century consider many possi ble authors from the Renaissance onwards to whom the work might be attributed. The Trois imposteurs has attracted quite a bit of recent attention as one of the most significant irreligious clandestine writings available in the Enlightenment, which is most important for understanding the develop ment of religious scepticism, radical deism, and even atheism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Scholars for the last couple of decades have been trying to assess when the work was actually written or compiled and by whom. In view of the widespread distribution of manu scripts of the work all over Europe, they have also been seeking to find out who was influenced by the work, and what it represented for its time. Hitherto unknown manuscripts are being turned up in public and private libraries all over Europe and the United States.