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326 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 26:2 APRIL ~988 drawing empirical conclusions from manipulations of large numbers, which have been often used to ~paterle bourgeois. This is an exceedingly meaty book, likely to interest historians of all sorts of ideas, historians of science, philosophy, theology, literature, and the occult. The author has integrated the scientific and quasi-scientific concerns with the general cultural environment and trends of thought that appear superficially to have little to do with pluralism. He has apparently read everything on the subject; it will surprise even someone generally acquainted with the field to learn how much has been written, and how repetitious, logically weak, rhetorically empty, and boring most of the source literature is. One is grateful to the author for having taken the burden of digesting and evaluating this immense store of writing. One congratulates him for belying Hume's statement: "! never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his inquiries." LEWIS WHITE BECK University of Rochester Ruth H. Bloch, Visionary Republic, Millennial Theories m American Thought, i756-i8oo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Pp. xvi + 291. In the sense that America has a national philosophy, a philosophical expression of its goals and aspirations, and a theory of why the nation is here and what its contribution to the world is supposed to be, America is supposedly a secular society, with no particular religious persuasion, founded and guided by its deist political philosophers who designed a liberal democratic society in which everyone could prosper according to his or her ability. It is suppposed to be a society designed to take in the politically and religiously oppressed, regardless of race, religion and creed. Now, at the 2ooth anniversary of the secular constitution, we are beginning to realize that America is also, or as much, a Millenarian republic, which saw and still sees itself as the beacon light unto the nations, and as a unique state in terms of its destiny in Providential history. One can, or should, appreciate that from the Puritans onward, colonists saw their being here in America not as a geographical fact, extending Europe's borders, but as a theological fact, preparing for the Kingdom of God on Earth. Dr. Bloch delineates her subject as a picturing of Millennial ideas and ideals from the beginning of the French and Indian War up to the Napoleonic period. She has tried to find all of the Millenarian writings published in America up to the early nineteenth century, and to show how they grew out of the European Millennial views of the colonists, then how these outlooks were applied to the Colonial role in the French and Indian War against the Papist Royalist Anti-Christ in France, next against the Anglican Anti-Christ opposing Colonial true Christian freedom, then in support of a Millennial Republic fulfilling the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, then into disillusionment , followed by a revival with the onset of the French Revolution, and finally the establishment of American fundamentalism, a still on-going philosophical theology. aoox~ REVIEWS 327 These views were not just those of country preachers, but also of leading professors and statesmen. Dr. Bloch tends to treat all her many Millenarians co-equally, but some like Ezra Stiles, the President of Yale, Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress and later Director of the U. S. Mint and founder of the American Bible Society, Hannah Adams, author of an important History of theJews, Joseph Priestley, the great chemist, and Charles Crawford, a leading abolitionist and philo-semitic Millenarian , who almost convinced the Czar to emancipate the Jews, all played major roles in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century thought in America and Europe. Bloch contends that American revolutionary ideology depended on the Millennial view so predominant in the colonies, and that people like Tom Paine had to use the vocabulary of the Millenarians to gain a hearing. This fine book gives a much needed balance to the view that late eighteenthcentury America was just the liberal enlightened offspring of John Locke and JeanJacques Rousseau. It was also the continuation of European Millennalism, and this led to interpreting the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 326-327
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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