The period 1660-1780 saw major changes in the relationship between religion and ethics in English thought. In this first part of an important two-volume study, Isabel Rivers examines the rise of Anglican moral religion and the reactions against it expressed in nonconformity, dissent and methodism. Her study investigates the writings that grew out of these movements, combining a history of the ideas of individual thinkers (including both prominent figures such as Bunyan and Wesley and a range of lesser writers) with analysis of their characteristic terminology, techniques of persuasion, literary forms and styles. The intellectual and social milieu of each movement is explored, together with the assumed audiences for whom the texts were written. The book provides an accessible, wide-ranging and authoritative new interpretation of a crucial period in the development of early modern religious and moral thought.
"...an important contribution to our understanding of the period...there is much to learn and consider in this conclusion to her exceptional two-volume study." Daniel Carey, Eighteenth-Century Scotland "The outstanding features of Isabel River's second volume of Reason, Grace, and Sentiment are all that one could have hoped for...The two volumes surpass all available histories of eighteenth-century English and Scottish philosophy and theology in breadth, depth, clarity, and sympathetic understanding of the principals." The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual "Isabel Rivers navigates well the difficult straits of late 17th- and early 18th-century theological literature...Reason, Grace, and Sentiment is a fine book; it amply fulfills River's hope that, for those interested in 17th- and 18th-century intellectual history, her 'concentration on language...succeed[s] in giving the subject a new interest and emphasis.' We anticipate Rivers's second voyage to hear the freethinkers and apologists singing." Michael Adams, Sixteenth Century News "...offers us fresh insights into the editing and publishing history of the Latitudinarians and their coherent attempts to shape the education of the clergy." James E. Bradley, Albion