The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700

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The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700 reexamines the religious thought of a group of important divines within the Church of England from the Restoration of 1660 until the emergence of Deism and the beginning of the Enlightenment in the late 1690s. The Latitudinarians were so named by contemporary critics for their willingness to accept the political and religious changes imposed during the Interregnum, a period of extremely factious religious debate. Modern scholars have closely identified the ...
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Overview

The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700 reexamines the religious thought of a group of important divines within the Church of England from the Restoration of 1660 until the emergence of Deism and the beginning of the Enlightenment in the late 1690s. The Latitudinarians were so named by contemporary critics for their willingness to accept the political and religious changes imposed during the Interregnum, a period of extremely factious religious debate. Modern scholars have closely identified the practical theology of these moderate churchmen with the rise of Deism and religious rationalism after the Glorious Revolution. W. M. Spellman challenges that association by focusing on several aspects of faith important to an understanding of the Latitudinarian movement: the Latitudinarian estimate of human nature and the impact of original sin; the place of reason, grace, and divine providence in the process of salvation; and the purpose of moral reform in a theological system where works were without merit. In each of these areas, Spellman shows how the Latitudinarians maintained positions indistinguishable from those championed by their supposedly more orthodox peers within the restored Church of England. Rather than associating the Latitudinarians with later, and often independent, developments in the life of the Church, Spellman returns the moderate divines to the unique seventeenth-century historical context in which the movement originated. Spellman explores the basis of the Latitudinarian search for a more reasonable faith and a comprehensive Church of England in light of the experience of civil war, sectarian violence, and the rebirth of academic skepticism, and he concludes with an analysis of the fundamental issues that divided the moderates from their younger Deist admirers. A substantial addition to our knowledge of the religious and intellectual life of Restoration England, The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700 enriches
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Editorial Reviews

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Examines the beliefs of a movement within the Anglican Church from the restoration of the monarchy to the beginning of the Enlightenment. Argues that Latitudinarians were not the precursors of the Deists and rational religion of a generation later, as is generally thought, but were merely seeking a more reasonable faith and a more comprehensive Church of England in the context of civil war, sectarian violence, and the resurgence of academic skepticism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820314297
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Pages: 224

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Origins of Latitudinarianism 11
2 The Restoration Church and the Limits of Reform 33
3 Assessing Adam's Bequest 54
4 Revelation and the Remains of Reason 72
5 The Succor of Grace 89
6 Practical Theology and the Meaning of Moralism 112
7 Revolution and the Measure of Influence 132
Conclusion 156
Notes 163
Bibliography 209
Index 225
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