Fighting Enthusiasts in the Early English Enlightenment

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 8:50 AM
Marriott Balcony A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Paul C. H. Lim, Vanderbilt University
"Ecstasies" and "Enthusiasm" were terms of abuse unleashed by a number of Restoration Episcopalians to destroy the credibility of Dissenting and other radical religionists.  Or at least so the current historiography goes.  This paper builds upon this regnant paradigm and adds a new component: how a similar polemical vector was in operation against Catholic theology and praxis, especially in the way Transubstantiation and accounts of Miracles were propagated by English Catholics, and in the way the same were attacked by Restoration Churchmen.  By doing so, this helps us fine-tune the historiographical lens of seeing the way radical religion was continually problematized within the Church of England, and offers some interesting prequel to the zeitgeist in the eve of the birth of Methodism.