Academic journal article Church History

Religion in the Age of Enlightenment: Volume 2

Academic journal article Church History

Religion in the Age of Enlightenment: Volume 2

Article excerpt

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Brett C. McInelly, an associate professor in the English department at Brigham Young University, is the founding editor of this annual, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles on a wide range of subjects that can be linked to the Enlightenment. With an editorial board that includes a wide range of scholars from multiple disciplines, this second volume of the journal gathers together thirteen articles and ten book reviews that range over a wide variety of topics including Samuel Johnson's prayer life, Jonathan Edwards' sermons to Indians, and Alexander Pope's desire to be an unbigoted Roman Catholic.

An article by Joanna Cruickshank is a particular standout: "'If God . . . see fit to call you out': 'Public' and 'Private' in the Writings of Methodist Women, 1760-1840." Female strivings "to be little and unknown" needed, at times, to be negotiated when women were called out to "publick action" (55-56). Using a large collection of manuscripts by Mary Fletcher held in the Methodist Archives and Research Centre at Manchester and Fletcher's popular autobiography, Cruickshank shows how "the Methodist emphasis on solitary prayer, reading, and reflection point to a valuing of individual intellectual and spiritual development among evangelical women that must be factored into longer chronologies of feminism" (76).

An article by Barbara Prosser on John Wesley's political writings in the Arminian Magazine is also particularly interesting. Wesley designed not to tell people what to think about deep political issues; rather, he stated that, "I would only help you to think" (79). …

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