Tuesday, 9 July 2013

New Review of Enlightened Evangelicalism

Check out the latest review of Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine in The English Historical Review. Alasdair Raffe, who earned a PhD in Scottish history at Edinburgh University and teaches at Northumbria University in England, has written a fair review of my book. In terms of criticism, Raffe argues that I didn't give enough attention to political issues in the book, and that some of my chapters are more original than others. He also is not that excited about including Erskine as an "enlightened" figure. But on the whole, Raffe credits these as "minor objections to a fine and welcome book."

Below are some of the highlights:

John Erskine (1721–1803) was one of eighteenth-century Scotland’s most prominent clergymen. Of noble birth and considerable wealth, he was a minister of the important church of Greyfriars, Edinburgh, from 1758 until his death. His sermons were well regarded, his publications influential, and his correspondence was both extensive and international...

Throughout, the book is well written and engages intelligently with the most recent scholarship on the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century religion...

Yeager convincingly depicts Erskine as a progressive intellectual: he was considerably more flexible in his attitudes than Scottish presbyterians of earlier generations. And he surpassed his conservative contemporaries in the range of his learning and his willingness to experiment in the hinterland of Calvinist orthodoxy. At the same time, he was more insistent than his Moderate brethren on the gospels’ core message of salvation...

Yeager shows us that Erskine was at once part of the mainstream of religious life in the eighteenth century, and central to many of our historiographical concerns.

As far as I know, this is the thirteenth review of Enlightened Evangelicalism, and I am very grateful  for this even-handed critical appraisal of my book from a scholar who I don't know personally.

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