Mysticism in Early Modern England
This item is available to order.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of Pages: 236
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Mysticism in Early Modern England traces how mysticism featured in polemical and religious discourse in seventeenth-century England and explores how it came to be viewed as a source of sectarianism, radicalism, and, most significantly, religious enthusiasm. Mysticism in Early Modern England examines a vital juncture in the history of Christian mysticism. Exploring both Catholic and Protestant views across the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the book argues for a re-evaluation of the cross-denominational appeal of mystical spirituality. It traces the mysticism of figures such as the Benedictine Augustine Baker, the Familist preacher John Everard, the millenarian Jane Lead, and the Cambridge Platonist writers Henry More and John Worthington. At the same time, it explores the arguments of a number of early modern critics including Meric Casaubon and Edward Stillingfleet, who viewed mysticism with suspicion and ridicule, a product of melancholy and madness incompatible with learned theological and doctrinal discussions. The book contends that the early modern period ultimately saw the association of mysticism with sectarianism, radicalism and religious enthusiasm, resulting in a negative connotation that lasted well into the twentieth century. It also explores connections between England and the Continent, suggesting that parallel and interconnected criticisms of mysticism occurred in France, Italy and Germany over the period. In analysing this significant change in attitude towards mysticism, the book suggests that recent scholarly attempts to 'return' mysticism to modern religious institutions and mainstream histories of religion can be viewed as a direct response to the rejection of mysticism in the early modern period. LIAM PETER TEMPLE gained his PhD from Northumbria University, Newcastle.
The book's ambition is visible not least in its firmly cross-confessional approach. Scholars have been nodding for years at the need to reintegrate Catholicism firmly into the mainstream of the religious history of early modern England. This is one of the best examples from an early career scholar of it actually being done. * HISTORY * Historians and literary scholars will turn to this study as a definitive source for determining the status of mysticism in the period. It most powerfully answers why mysticism flowers and falls away over the duration of this surprising, turbulent century. * JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES * [An] important book...Well-written and lucidly argued [it makes] an important contribution to the historiography of the English Reformation, causing us to question fundamental assumptions about apparently polarised confessional identities. * BRITISH CATHOLIC HISTORY * A groundbreaking study. * JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY * Provides a helpful insight into the complexities of Christian mystical development for both the general student of the early modern period and the more specialist scholar of religious history. * HWRBI * Temple's work is impressive for both its mastery of historical scholarship as well as its employment of primary evidence to support his findings. . . . There is an impressive amount of research underpinning the entire study, and the author handles some complex and dense characters and their relevant works with admirable concision and clarity. * SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY NEWS * Temple's work should be the first place one turns to begin a study of mysticism (however conceived) in 17th-century England. Its comparative approach and its focus on terminology help give clarity to an otherwise allusive theory in modern religion. For a first monograph, it combines just the right amount of historical detail, narrative, manuscript work, and theory to engage student and scholar alike. * Reading Religion * an important work that is thoroughly recommended for all readers interested in the varieties of early modern religious experience. * CHURCH HISTORY *