By Wayne Hudson, Diego Lucci
Given the critical function performed by means of faith in early-modern Britain, it's might be dazzling that historians haven't continuously paid shut realization to the moving and nuanced subtleties of phrases utilized in non secular controversies. during this assortment specific recognition is focussed upon of the main contentious of those phrases: 'atheism' and 'deism', phrases that experience formed major components of the scholarship at the Enlightenment. This quantity argues that during the 17th and eighteenth century atheism and deism concerned advantageous differences that experience now not constantly been preserved via later students. the unique deployment and utilization of those phrases have been frequently extra complex than a lot of the old scholarship indicates. certainly, in a lot of the literature static definitions are usually taken without any consideration, leading to depictions of the previous developed upon anachronistic assumptions. delivering reassessments of the old figures so much linked to 'atheism' and 'deism' in early smooth Britain, this assortment opens the topic up for debate and exhibits how the hot historiography of deism adjustments our figuring out of heterodox spiritual identities in Britain from 1650 to 1800. It problematises the older view that people have been atheist or deists in a simple experience and as an alternative explores the plurality and adaptability of spiritual identities in this interval. Drawing at the newest scholarship, the amount enriches the talk approximately heterodoxy, providing new views on a number of well known figures and offering an outline of significant adjustments within the box.
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Extra info for Atheism and Deism Revalued: Heterodox Religious Identities in Britain 1650-1800
Richardson (London, 2002). 18 See Theo Verbeek, Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise: Exploring ‘the Will of God’ (Aldershot, 2003); Daniel B. Schwartz, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image (Princeton, 2012). 19 See Van A. Harvey, Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion (Cambridge, 1995). 20 See, for example, Maudemarie Clark, David Dudrick, The Soul of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (Cambridge, 2012). 14 15 Atheism and Deism Revalued 18 It can also be misleading to imply that atheism necessarily involves the rejection of Christianity.
Atheism, which Gibbon associated with the French philosophes, especially Voltaire, is condemned in the Decline and Fall as a species of bigotry which offers no intellectual antidote to Christian intolerance. Although Gibbon provides a scathing account of the rise of the Christian Church, indebted to the work of the English deists, he insists that natural religion does not offer a solution to religious or irreligious extremism, not because its views are unjustifiable, but because its balanced neutrality is almost impossible to sustain.
If, for example, they believed that the universe was divine, then rejecting a supernatural deity might not be as decisive as it first appears. Historians, however, write as if atheists were a natural kind, detectable by simple definitions. However, those who rejected deity were of many kinds and multiple opinions, and only careful scholarship will allow us to construct what they thought and believed about anything, even though we may make predictions. In the same way, there is no completely self-evident relationship between atheism and either religiosity or mysticism.
Atheism and Deism Revalued: Heterodox Religious Identities in Britain 1650-1800 by Wayne Hudson, Diego Lucci