- Series: Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History
- Hardcover: 357 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 12, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1107073685
- ISBN-13: 978-1107073685
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,006,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and its Empire, 1648-1715 (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History)
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"Bulman's achievement is positively 'Thompsonian': the rescuing of Anglican scholars and scholarship, pastors and political operatives from the enormous condescension of (whig and revisionist) posterity. As such, Anglican Enlightenment ranks amongst the most important interventions in late seventeenth-century studies in the last decade, if not longer."
David Magliocco, Reviews in History
"Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."
'In this engagingly written and impressively wide-ranging study, William Bulman goes much further than previous scholars to claim that Anglican clergy were early in the field in displaying the essential hallmarks of the Enlightenment. He powerfully argues that the Anglican Enlightenment was not simply a reactive Whig intervention of the 18th century, and that 'the Enlightenment' was created by leading Anglican divines of the late 17th century rather than by heterodox philosophers. ... This is a highly distinguished contribution to our understanding of both the Anglican Church and the Enlightenment.' Jeremy Gregory, The Church Times
'Bulman's analysis of 'enlightened' Anglicanism after the Restoration is a masterly result of exhaustive research. The Enlightenment is at last presented not as the all but exclusive prerogative of its most radical adherents, but as a widespread phenomenon, existing in countless variants forged by political circumstances.' Alastair Hamilton, The Times Literary Supplement
'The adept interpretation of neglected historical material is valuable enough. Its greater importance, however, lies in the subtle, but paradigm-altering move to look for enlightenment beyond the usual suspects, and to critically revisit received wisdom regarding the motivations which drove certain historical actors to globally reinterpret insularly European realities.' Samuel Nelson, Politics, Religion and Ideology
'Bulman's book provides us with a powerful case for the persisting erudition and theological commitments of figures in the Church in England after the crisis of the English revolution ... Too often historians have described what they observe in the histories, events, and texts of the period by adopting the perspectives of the sources they find most congenial ... For too long historians of ideas in particular - and especially those that elevate the 'liberal' afterlife of the texts of Spinoza and John Locke and others as significant and foundational - have ignored the flexibility and adaptability of the clerical minds who lived and wrote in the same intellectual culture. After Bulman this will not be a plausible assumption.' Justin Champion, Erudition and the Republic of Letters
'It is a book of great interpretive reach and is powered by enviable resources of erudition ... An outstanding and unusually ambitious monograph ... A genuinely pioneering and altogether revelatory study.' Brian Young, The Journal of Modern History
An original interpretation of the early European Enlightenment and the politics of religion in later Stuart England and its global empire. William J. Bulman provides a novel account of how the onset of globalization and the end of Europe's religious wars transformed English intellectual, religious and political life.
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Andrews is an ideal means to get at this, as his education during the Civil War period fits Bulman’s identification of that context as a provocation for the Anglican desire to find non-violent and less coercive ways of arguing and using learning. Andrews wanted politeness and widely recognized ways of getting at evidence. His time during the Restoration as a civil servant and minister in Tangier especially allowed him to use comparative history and religion to make his arguments about good politics and civic order. In attempting to argue from universals, Bulman maintains, Andrews was participating in the methods of evidentiary evaluation that are normally attributed to Enlightenment thinkers. Bulman is quick to point out that the Orientalism of Andrews and others in this period is different from the late 18th century variety, however it was still the use of knowledge for power. More to the point, it allowed for traveling historians to get at sources that were not merely textual and ancient. Andrews both surveyed/observed the people of North Africa and utilized their own ancient histories and political tracts to do his scholarship. He criticized those who were armchair scholars, using old religious histories of the Jews or Muslims without understanding that their culture and society had changed over time. The point of all this was not only to understand non-Christians better for the purpose of conversion, but also to understand more universal social/political laws so that Andrews could critique and advise his own countrymen.
At the heart of Enlightenment assumptions was the idea that education was the main means of changing people’s hearts and minds. Authoritarian claims to revelation and obedience were not enough, and the Church of England clergy were largely commitment to non-coercion in their attempts to compel loyalty and religious renewal. Bulman emphasizes that this was well understood and practiced before 1689, even by those like Andrews who were not in favor of a general Protestant toleration. The moral reformation movement after the Glorious Revolution was therefore not new in it’s educational and tolerationist attributes. Instead, this reality had been around long before, as Andrews’ low clergy contemporaries regularly demonstrated. Catechisms and catechizing had rarely been so important, and Bulman connects this to the experience of the Interregnum’s lack of regular religious instruction and the perceived irreligion and ignorance that the Restoration clergy felt they had to deal with. Andrews both published and promoted this form of making change and establishing correct religion. His observations during his time abroad and his assessment of the Jewish and Islamic societies only convinced him of this, and he used the nascent Enlightenment evidences to argue for it.
Bulman’s narrative of Andrews’ career and the difficulty he had in making the transition after the Glorious Revolution is extremely effective in reminding the contemporary reader that the divides between scholars and polemicists of the day are not easily mapped onto each other. The Socinian/Deist rationalists were met on their own ground by devout Anglicans who used similar methods and evidences—and the latter were not monolithically low church/latitudinarian. Andrews, for instance, was part of this Anglican Enlightenment, but not sympathetic with the Williamite bishops and did not believe the empire’s de facto toleration should be extended to England. Instead, he continued his pre-Revolution commitment to catechizing, regular sacraments and a neo-Laudian reform of the material elements of worship. His inability to adjust to the new institutions of the 1690s was part of the larger failure (see also Brent Sirota on this subject) of the high church clergy to adopt effective tactics/institutions for spiritual renewal in the new pluralistic context.
What all the church leaders were dealing with was no longer the threat of dissent and/or popery, but irreligion and ignorance. And in the end, they were unable to suppress those threats without coercion and the strong commitment of the crown while still arguing for the particular sacerdotal importance of the Church of England. The universal arguments and evidences they relied on ended up not only failing to convince their audience, but became used by the later more secular Enlightenment. Still Bulman wants his readers to see the ways in which godly reformers were not only some of the earliest adopters of the Enlightenment assumptions, but that the nascent liberalism of this period was also a discourse of power. Its questions are still around—how do we secure peace in a pluralistic world? How do we evaluate truth? Liberalism wasn’t primarily about protecting people from the church/state, as it was developed by people who were committed to those institutions. Instead it was one attempt to answer the question of power and pluralism and was a tactic the state used to establish its authority.
History is often the story of unintended consequences. Our interest in how we got to be the way we are all too often causes us to oversimply. By using one man’s indirect and winding career path, Bulman has both clarified and complicated how Enlightenment commitments to universals and pluralism might result from a commitment Christian’s desire to convert and reinvigorate the sacerdotal and civic power of the very particular Church of England.