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Religion in the Age of Reason: A Transatlantic Study of the Long Eighteenth Century.

Religion in the Age of Reason: A Transatlantic Study of the Long Eighteenth Century. Edited by Kathryn Duncan. AMS Studies in the Eighteenth Century: AMS Press, 2009. xx + 233 pp. $84.50 cloth.

This collection of essays examines the ways religion and reason were mixed together in British literature. The collection is wide ranging in time and subject, but is united by the authors' pursuit of "deeper and wider" (xvii) ways poets wrote of theology, bishops used sermons in politics, theologians practiced typology, allegorists debated gender roles, and a monk could exemplify "Enlightened and Peaceful Catholicism." The authors here understand that words are tools of reason and look for the Age of Reason to manifest itself in the use of words. Harry Clark Maddux's essay on "Effects and Affects: Edward Taylor's Negotiation of Ramist Rhetoric" illuminates the ways a devotional poet found structure in textbook dialectic. Brett C. McInelly delves into tightrope definitions of madness and enthusiasm in an essay that roots itself in John Wesley's medical interests. Typology, often overlooked as an aspect of rationalism, appears in a majority of the essays, including Brian Fehler's "Jonathan Edwards on Nature as a Language of God: Symbolic Typology as Rhetorical Presence" and Michael Austin's "Bunyan's Book of Ruth: The Typological Structure of the Seventeenth-Century Debate on Women in the Church." The rational use of symbolism is what takes readers "deeper and wider" in most of these essays. Readers of Church History will learn much from this collection.

Rick Kennedy

Point Loma Nazarene University

doi: 10.1017/S0009640711001016

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Author:Kennedy, Rick
Publication:Church History
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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