'... carefully argued and instructively documented.... A sensitive account of the development of rational discourse about religion' --Michael Pye, Religion'The tale which Dr. Harrison tells is a fascinating one .... a clear and important contribution to our understanding of a seminal period.'
--David Pailin, Scottish Journal of Theology'... a mine of information and meticulously documented reading of primary sources....'
--J. Samuel Preuss, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"Professor Harrison has produced a meticulously documented, systematically organized, and challenging monograph. His use of the printed literature and sources of the period is exemplary. Although a demanding exercise in intellectual history, this book is profoundly significant for scholars concerned with English religious thought." Albion
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.