The idea of the long eighteenth century (1660-1832) as a period in which religious and political dissent were regarded as antecedents of the Enlightenment has recently been advanced by several scholars. The purpose of this collection is further to explore these connections between religious and political dissent in Enlightenment Britain. Addressing the many and rich connections between political and religious dissent in the long eighteenth century, the volume also acknowledges the work of Professor James E. Bradley in stimulating interest in these issues among scholars. Contributors engage directly with ideas of secularism, radicalism, religious and political dissent and their connections with the Enlightenment, or Enlightenments, together with other important themes including the connections between religious toleration and the rise of the 'enlightenments'. Contributors also address issues of modernity and the ways in which a 'modern' society can draw its inspiration from both religion and secularity, as well as engaging with the seventeenth-century idea of the synthesis of religion and politics and its evolution into a system in which religion and politics were interdependent but separate. Offering a broadly-conceived interpretation of current research from a more comprehensive perspective than is often the case, the historiographical implications of this collection are significant for the development of ideas of the nature of the Enlightenment and for the nature of religion, society and politics in the eighteenth century. By bringing together historians of politics, religion, ideas and society to engage with the central theme of the volume, the collection provides a forum for leading scholars to engage with a significant theme in British history in the 'long eighteenth century'.
Robert D. Cornwall is Pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church, Troy, Michigan. He holds a PhD in Historical Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is author of Visible and Apostolic: The Constitution of the Church in High Church Anglican and Nonjuror Thought (1993) and editor of Gilbert Burnet's Discourse of the Pastoral Care (1997). In addition, he has contributed numerous articles to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. William Gibson is Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History at Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University. He has written widely on the Church in the period 1660-1900. Among other books, he is the author of The Church of England 1688-1832, Unity and Accord (2001); Enlightenment Prelate, Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761) (2004) and James II and the Trial of the Seven Bishops (2009).
’These essays offer rich insights into eighteenth-century Protestantism and are a fitting tribute to their dedicatee, James Bradley.’ Journal of Church and State ’Of those who contributed to this sophisticated recovery of Dissent and its political dimensions, none has been more esteemed as a man and a scholar than James Bradley. This festschrift is a handsome and fitting tribute to his career.’ Archives 'Those readers interested in the intricacies and nuances of politics and religion in England's long eighteenth century should welcome this collection of essays celebrating and building on the scholarship of James Bradley.' Fides et Historia '... each chapter is illuminating, and collectively the authors illustrate the great variety of English religion and Dissent in the long eighteenth century.' Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 'These essays help to rewrite the role played by religion in eighteenth-century England and provide a more nuanced analysis of its inter-connections with political life, the state church, and the broad spectrum of Dissent.' Journal of Religious History