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Seeing Things Their Way

Intellectual History and the Return of Religion

edited by Alister Chapman, John Coffey, Brad S. Gregory

Publication Year: 2009

While religious history and intellectual history are both active, dynamic fields of contemporary historical inquiry, historians of ideas and historians of religion have too often paid little attention to one another’s work. The intellectual historian Quentin Skinner urged scholars to attend to the contexts as well as the texts of authors, in order to “see things their way.” Where religion is concerned, however, historians have often failed to heed this good advice; this book helps to remedy that failure. The editors and contributors urge intellectual historians to explore the religious dimensions of ideas and at the same time commend the methods of intellectual history to historians of religion.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

The editors would like to thank the managers of the George Macaulay Trevelyan Fund of Cambridge University for their financial support of this project; Eugenio Biagini, Richard Rex, Johathan Riley-Smith, Reiner Smolinski, and Carl Trueman for their critical and ...

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1 Introduction: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion

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pp. 1-23

Religious history and intellectual history are two of the most dynamic fields of contemporary historical inquiry. Yet historians of ideas and historians of religion often plough separate furrows, paying little attention to each other’s work. This book calls for a more fruitful interaction between the two fields. It urges intellectual historians ...

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2 Can We “See Things Their Way”?Should We Try?

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pp. 24-45

I think it worthwhile to reflect on some broad conceptual and methodological issues related to the study of the history of religious ideas. My point of departure will be the phrase in the title to our volume, which is taken from the title of the introduction to the first volume of Quentin Skinner’s collected essays, “Seeing Things Their Way.”1 At ...

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3 Quentin Skinner and the Religious Dimension of Early Modern Political Thought

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pp. 46-74

Quentin Skinner is arguably the most influential historian of ideas at work today. He made his reputation with a set of iconoclastic methodological essays in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and consolidated it with a magisterial two-volume work on The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (1978), later listed by the Times Literary Supplement among “the hundred ...

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4 “Sie Stinken Beide,” or How to Use Medieval Christian-Jewish Disputational Material

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pp. 75-90

Over two hundred years ago Heinrich Heine wrote a very long poem about disputatious Jews and Christians, which he entitled Disputation. He depicted a grand disputation held at Toledo before the king and queen of Castile between Rabbi Juda of Navarre for the Jews and Friar Jos

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5 Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, Apocalypticism, and Millenarianismin Early Modern Europe: A Case Study and Some Methodological Reflections

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pp. 91-133

In assessing methodologies for studying the history of religious ideas, the form of religious thought and behavior known as “apocalypticism” raises particularly interesting difficulties. In origin, the word “apocalypse” means “revelation.” More particularly, it refers to the supernatural disclosure of mysteries outside the scope of ordinary experience, generally ...

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6 Reflections on Persistent Whiggism and Its Antidotes in the Study of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century Intellectual History

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pp. 134-153

The last several decades have seen a series of significant shifts in the study of sixteenth-and seventeenth-century intellectual history. These shifts in emphasis and method are based, moreover, on the recognition of problematic elements in the older scholarship on the Reformation and post-Reformation eras and consist largely in an attempt to ...

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7 Scholasticism Revisited:Methodological Reflections on the Study of Seventeenth-century Reformed Thought

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pp. 154-174

Historical theologians have commonly held that a rather negative connection exists between the two major intellectual movements in the Protestant world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the Reformation and Protestant scholasticism. These scholars have condemned the writings of the Protestant scholastics as an unfortunate survival of ...

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8 The Changing Shape of Religious Ideas in Enlightened England

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pp. 175-201

In discussions of enlightened England, it has long been recognized that religion and religious ideas set the nation apart from its European neighbors. The serious religious convictions of major figures like Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke, the Christian antecedents of the Royal Society, and the contributions of Anglican priest and Nonconformist minister ...

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9 British Methodological Pointers for Writing a History of Theology in America

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pp. 202-225

Comparing the contemporary state of Christianity in the United States to its state in the United Kingdom leads to a number of anomalies, not least concerning efforts at writing the history of religious ideas. For adherence to Christian churches and maintenance of traditional Christian practices during the last two generations, levels of participation ...

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10 Intellectual History and Religion in Modern Britain

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pp. 226-239

All of the preceding chapters in this volume have dealt with societies in which religious observance was commonplace, and while some may choose to explain such observance in nonreligious terms, it is difficult to ignore. This chapter, by contrast, focuses on a society where regular religious observance has become a minority interest and where ...

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11 Response: The History of Ideas and the Study of Religion

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pp. 240-257

The character of this chapter is largely determined by its role as a response to the others contained in this volume. Responding is a dangerous business. It requires trespassing on alien territory, and so carries the risk of misrepresenting subjects where specialist expertise is properly needed. Perhaps all that can be done is to beg for understanding, ...


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pp. 258-260


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pp. 261-267

E-ISBN-13: 9780268076856
E-ISBN-10: 0268076855
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268022983
Print-ISBN-10: 0268022984

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2009