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Philosophy - Philosophical Traditions | Debating the Faith: Religion and Letter Writing in Great Britain, 1550-1800

Debating the Faith: Religion and Letter Writing in Great Britain, 1550-1800

Dunan-Page, Anne, Prunier, Clotilde (Eds.)

2013, X, 218 p.

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  • First book to highlight the role of letters as key documents in religious communication and debate
  • Discussion on epistolary culture
  • Contains interdisciplinary chapters on the role of letters in British Culture, Protestantism and Catholicism ​
The first book to address the role of correspondence in the study of religion, Debating the Faith: Religion and Letter Writing in Great Britain, 1550-1800 shows how letters shaped religious debate in early-modern and Enlightenment Britain, and discusses the materiality of the letters as well as questions of form and genre. Particular attention is paid to the contexts in which letters were composed, sent, read, distributed, and then destroyed, copied or printed, in periods of religious tolerance or persecution. The opening section, ‘Protestant identities’, examines the importance of letters in the shaping of British protestantism from the underground correspondence of Protestant martyrs in the reign of Mary I to dissident letters after the Act of Toleration. ‘Representations of British Catholicism’, explores the way English, Irish and Scottish Catholics, whether in exile or at home, defined their faith, established epistolary networks, and addressed political and religious allegiances in the face of adversity. The last part, ‘Religion, science and philosophy’, focuses on the religious content of correspondence between natural scientists and philosophers.​

Content Level » Research

Keywords » British Catholicism - British Protestantism - epistolary writing - religious letters in early-modern Britain - role of letters in religious communication - role of letters in sustaining faith

Related subjects » History of Science - Philosophical Traditions - Religious Studies

Table of contents 

Introduction.- Religion and letter writing, 1550-1800, G. Schneider.- Part I Protestant Identities.- Scribal Networks and sustainers in Protestant martyrology, M. Greengrass.- Thomas Browne, the Quakers, and a Letter from a Judicious Friend, R. Barbour.- Writing authority in the Interregnum: The pastoral letters of Richard Baxter, A. Searle.- Letters and records of the dissenting congregations: David Crosley,Cripplegate and Baptist Church life, A. Dunan-Page.- Part II Representations of British Catholicism.- ‘For the Greater Glory’: Irish Jesuit letters and the Irish Counter-Reformation,1598-1626, D. Finnegan.- James ‘III and VIII’ and Catholic Kingship, 1702-1718, D. Szechi.- Every time I receive a Letter from you it gives me new vigour’: The correspondence of Scalan masters, 1762-1783, C. Prunier.- Part III Religion, Science and Philosophy.- Debating the faith: Damaris Masham (1658-1708) and religious controversy, S. Hutton.- Dining out in the Republic of Letters: The rhetoric of scientific correspondence, C. Preston.- Evangelical Calvinists versus the Hutcheson Circle: Debating the faith in Scotland, 1738-1739, J. Moore.- Questioning church doctrine in private correspondence in the eighteenth century: Jean Bouhier’s doubts concerning the soul, A. Thomson.- Index. ​

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