Miracles in Enlightenment England

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Yale University Press, 2006 - Religion - 244 pages
The Enlightenment, considered an age of rationalism, is not normally associated with miracles. In this intriguing book, however, Jane Shaw presents accounts of inscrutable miracles that occurred to ordinary worshippers in early modern England. She considers the reactions of intellectuals, scientists, and physicians to these miraculous events and through them explores the relations between popular and elite culture of the time.
Miraculous events in England between the 1650s and the 1750s were experienced mainly not by Catholics, but by Protestants. The book looks at the political and social context of these events as well as interpretations and explanations of them by scientists, the Court, and the Church, as well as by preachers, pamphleteers, friends, and neighbors. Shaw links the lived religion of the time to intellectual history and amends the hitherto received view. The religious practice of ordinary people was as crucial to the development of Enlightenment thought as the philosophical and theological writings of the elite.
 

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Contents

Protestantism and Miracles
21
Miracle Workers and Healers
51
Valentine Greatrakes and the New Philosophy
74
Fasting Women
98
Perfectly Protestant Miracles
119
Miracles and the Philosophers
144
Conclusion
174
Notes
182
Bibliography
210
Index
233
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About the author (2006)

Jane Shaw is dean of divinity, chaplain, and fellow of New College, Oxford.

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