January 5, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Ingram Uses Fellowship in England To Study Religion & Enlightenment

Dr. Robert G. Ingram, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University, was awarded a Durham International Senior Research Fellowship at Durham University in England to study religion and the Enlightenment in spring 2014.

At Durham, Ingram was an affiliate of the Institute for Advanced Study. Support for his fellowship was provided by Durham University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the History Department, and the European Union.

Durham University has some of the world’s leading experts on early modern English religious and intellectual history, including Professors Stephen Taylor, Alec Ryrie and Andy Wood and Dr. Alex Barber. With Taylor and Barber, Ingram offered a weekly graduate reading seminar, focusing on England’s “long” Reformation. Ingram also took advantage of Durham’s libraries, including the university’s special collections at Palace Green, the Durham Cathedral Library and the Ushaw College library.

During the fellowship, Ingram is finishing his project on “Religion, Enlightenment and the Paradox of Innovation c. 1650-1750.” That project has been supported by the the Templeton Foundation’s Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Program and by the Earhart Foundation and includes three upcoming books written by Ingram and Dr. William J. Bulman, Assistant Professor of History at Lehigh University:

  • Anglican Enlightenment: Culture and Religious Politics in England and its Empire, 1648-1714, by Bulman
  • God and the Enlightenment from Newton to Hume, edited by Bulman and Ingram
  • A Warfare on Earth: Religion and Enlightenment from Newton to Hume, by Ingram

A Warfare on Earth: Religion and Enlightenment from Newton to Hume

Abstract: A Warfare upon Earth: Religion and Enlightenment from Newton to Hume fundamentally recasts the conventional narrative of intellectual innovation and its relationship to religion in early modern England. The standard story for this period holds that religious strife rent apart England in the 1640s and 1650s. In response, there emerged an rationalist metaphysics whose fulfillment was the Enlightenment, a secular movement in which reason supplanted religion as the touchstone of truth. On this view, then, the path to modern secular liberalism ran necessarily and ineluctably through the Enlightenment.

This project subverts that narrative by way of an examination of English polemical divinity, c. 1700–1750. It argues that while the English “Enlightenment” might have been an intellectual project that aimed to prevent religious warfare in the future, that project was neither necessarily metaphysical nor inherently secular. Nor was it one that pitted pre-modern conservatives against proto-modern liberals. The English Enlightenment’s primary site of intellectual contestation was the interpretation and use of the past: it was, in other words, an historiographical moment rather than a metaphysical one. Paradoxically, though, historiographical debate had, by the mid 18th century, become a far greater solvent of traditional belief and practice than had metaphysics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *