The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era

The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era

by Colin Jager
Pub. Date:
University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Hardcover - Rent for

Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)
  • purchase options
    $61.75 $69.95 Save 12% Current price is $61.75, Original price is $69.95. You Save 12%.
  • purchase options


The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era

The Book of God is a penetrating study of the argument from design as it emerged and circulated in the romantic era. This argument holds that the intricacy and complexity of the natural world points to a divine designer and that nature is to be read as God's book. A literary and philosophical study of this idea, The Book of God revisits the familiar equation of romanticism, modernity, and secularization. Colin Jager eschews classic formulations of the thesis that societies secularize as they modernize, arguing instead that secularization is complexly interwoven with modernity rather than simply opposed to it. This revised concept of secularization reveals how arguments about God's designing intentions structure a romantic modernity that is neither progressive nor entirely secular.

Tracing this understanding through diverse texts, ranging from philosophy and theology to poetry and fiction, Jager argues that the idea of design functions as both source and interlocutor for many of romanticism's most famous topics. The book concludes with current controversies over intelligent design and evolution, arguing for a historically informed approach to modernity's attempts to divide the religious from the secular.

The book's chronological and thematic range will make it of interest to students of religion and of intellectual and cultural history, as well as literary scholars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812239799
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 12/09/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. Nature is the Book of God

Chapter 1. The Argument Against Design from Deism to Blake
Chapter Two. Arbitrary Acts of Mind: Natural Theology in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Chapter Three. Theory, Practice, and Anna Barbauld
Chapter Four. Natural Designs: William Paley, Immanuel Kant, and the Power of Analogy
Chapter Five. Mansfield Park and the End of Natural Theology
Chapter Six. Wordsworth: The Shape of Analogy
Chapter Seven. Reading With a Worthy Eye: Secularization and Evil
Chapter Eight. Religion Three Ways

Afterword. Intelligent Design and Religious Ignoramuses; or, the Difference between Theory and Literature

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews