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A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment - download pdf or read online

By J. Rixey Ruffin

ISBN-10: 0195326512

ISBN-13: 9780195326512

ISBN-10: 1435620402

ISBN-13: 9781435620407

William Bentley, pastor in Salem, Massachusetts from 1783 to his loss of life in 1819, used to be in contrast to an individual else in America's founding iteration, for he had come to particular conclusions approximately how most sensible to keep up a conventional realizing of Christianity in a global ever altering through 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, person who provided new and radical claims in regards to the energy of God and the attributes of Jesus. Drawing on over one thousand of Bentley's sermons, J. Rixey Ruffin strains the evolution of Bentley's theology. Neither liberal nor deist, Bentley used to be as a substitute what Ruffin calls a "Christian naturalist," a believer within the biblical God and within the crucial Christian narrative but additionally in God's unwillingness to intervene in nature after the Resurrection. In adopting this kind of place, Bentley had driven his religion so far as he may towards rationalism whereas nonetheless, he notion, calling it Christianity. yet this booklet 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 rules, yet maybe extra very important, it unravels their social and political outcomes. utilizing Bentley's striking diary and an unlimited archive of newspaper bills, tax files, and electoral returns, Ruffin brings to lifestyles the sailors, widows, captains and retailers who lived with Bentley within the japanese parish of Salem. A Paradise of cause is a learn of the highbrow and tangible results of rational faith in mercantile Salem, of theology and philosophy but additionally 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 occasion politics of Federalism and Democratic-Republicanism. In bringing to gentle the interesting lifestyles and regarded one among early New England's best old 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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Extra resources for A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic

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There were six mills, of which Paine owned four, and only one man in the North End owned as much wharfage as he did. 9 He was far from the wealthiest man in Boston—he owned neither vessel nor stock-in-trade and had no money out on loan—but he was better off than most artisans. 10 In the autumn of 1765, six-year-old William Bentley, still living with his grandfather, began his formal education at the North Writing School, where he practiced his letters under the careful eye of John Tileston. For many of Tileston’s students, his was all the formal instruction they would ever receive.

Calvinists, meanwhile, thought that Arminians, in claiming to know God’s will, were manifesting the very pride that lay at the core of alienation from God. As Salem’s midcentury evangelical John Huntington put it, the Arminians had abandoned belief in depravity because they were not 44 1783–1791 ‘‘fully able to comprehend them with their boasted, tho’ darkened reason; and because [those doctrines] do not constitute such a scheme of religion as they should have chalked it out, by the dim light of nature.

In terms of secular class distinctions, the men in the church occupied the full range of social places in a seaport town. A number were ship captains or petty merchants, men not of great wealth but with some security and a modicum of comfort. Beneath them were the artisans, the men who made things rather than imported them, with their incomes generally reflective of the difficulty of the making. ’’26 Whatever a carpenter’s concerns, he was likely better off than the fishermen and sailors who joined him in the pews on Sundays and who represented, vagrants and servants aside, the bottom of the range.

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


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