Download 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 loss of life in 1819, was once in contrast to a person else in America's founding iteration, for he had come to designated conclusions approximately how top to keep up a conventional realizing of Christianity in a global ever altering via the forces of the Enlightenment.

Like a few of his contemporaries, Bentley preached a liberal Christianity, with its benevolent God and salvation via ethical residing, yet he-and in New England he alone-also preached a rational Christianity, person who provided new and radical claims in regards to the strength of God and the attributes of Jesus. Drawing on over 1000 of Bentley's sermons, J. Rixey Ruffin lines the evolution of Bentley's theology. Neither liberal nor deist, Bentley was once 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 type of place, Bentley had driven his religion so far as he might towards rationalism whereas nonetheless, he suggestion, 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 maybe extra vital, it unravels their social and political outcomes. utilizing Bentley's outstanding diary and an enormous archive of newspaper bills, 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 firm and dissent, the ideological politics of republicanism and classical liberalism, and the celebration politics of Federalism and Democratic-Republicanism. In bringing to gentle the attention-grabbing existence and regarded considered one of early New England's finest historic figures, Ruffin bargains a clean standpoint at the formative negotiations among Christianity and the Enlightenment within the years of America's founding.

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