This critical label became attached to a group of Anglican divines in the late seventeenth century whose thought displayed a high regard for the authority of reason and a tolerant, antidogmatic temper ("gentlemen of a wide swallow"). In many ways products of the Cambridge Platonists (to whom the term was originally applied), they nevertheless lacked their mystical and imaginative depth. Moreover, though mostly Cambridge men, they became prominent churchmen. They included John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury; Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester; Simon Patrick, Bishop of Chichester and Ely; Gilbert Burnet, Reformation historian and Bishop of Salisbury; and Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury. They reacted against the Calvinism of the Puritans and were broadly Arminian in outlook. They aligned themselves with progressive and liberal movements in the contemporary intellectual world.
Hostile to scholasticism and Aristotelianism, they drew inspiration more from Descartes's new "mechanical" philosophy. Respect for "the theatre of nature" led them to support scientific developments such as the Royal Society. Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, was its historian, and Joseph Glanvill was a fellow of the Society as well as rector of Bath and the author of The Vanity of Dogmatizing and The Agreement of Reason and Religion. The new mathematics of Isaac Barrow and Isaac Newton they hailed as signs of a new age of light.
|BELIEVE Religious Information Source - By Alphabet Our List of 2,300 Religious Subjects|
D F Wright
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)
G. R. Cragg, The Church and the Age of Reason and From Puritanism to the Age of Reason; B. Willey, The Seventeenth Century Background; M. H. Nicolson, "Christ's College and the Latitude Men," MP 27:35-53.
This page - -
- - is at
This subject presentation was last updated on - -
Send an e-mail question or comment to us: E-mail
The main BELIEVE web-page (and the index to subjects) is at: BELIEVE Religious Information Source - By Alphabet http://mb-soft.com/believe/indexaz.html