A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment by J. Rixey Ruffin PDF

By J. Rixey Ruffin

William Bentley, pastor in Salem, Massachusetts from 1783 to his dying in 1819, used to be in contrast to somebody else in America's founding iteration, for he had come to specified conclusions approximately how most sensible to take care of a conventional knowing of Christianity in a global ever altering by way of the forces of the Enlightenment.

Like a few of his contemporaries, Bentley preached a liberal Christianity, with its benevolent God and salvation via ethical dwelling, yet he-and in New England he alone-also preached a rational Christianity, one who provided new and radical claims concerning the strength of God and the attributes of Jesus. Drawing on over 1000 of Bentley's sermons, J. Rixey Ruffin strains the evolution of Bentley's theology. Neither liberal nor deist, Bentley used to be in its place what Ruffin calls a "Christian naturalist," a believer within the biblical God and within the crucial Christian narrative but in addition in God's unwillingness to intervene in nature after the Resurrection. In adopting this sort of place, Bentley had driven his religion so far as he may possibly towards rationalism whereas nonetheless, he inspiration, calling it Christianity.

But this ebook is as a lot a social and political background of Salem within the early republic because it is an highbrow biography; it not just delineates Bentley's principles, yet possibly extra very important, it unravels their social and political effects. utilizing Bentley's notable diary and an enormous archive of newspaper money owed, tax files, and electoral returns, Ruffin brings to existence the sailors, widows, captains and retailers who lived with Bentley within the japanese parish of Salem.

A Paradise of Reason is a research of the highbrow and tangible results of rational faith in mercantile Salem, of theology and philosophy but in addition of ideology: of the social politics of race and sophistication and gender, the ecclesiastical politics of multinational and dissent, the ideological politics of republicanism and classical liberalism, and the get together politics of Federalism and Democratic-Republicanism. In bringing to mild the attention-grabbing lifestyles and considered certainly one of early New England's best old figures, Ruffin deals a clean viewpoint at the formative negotiations among Christianity and the Enlightenment within the years of America's founding.

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A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic (Religion in America) by J. Rixey Ruffin


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