Seeing Things Their Way

  • Intellectual History and the Return of Religion

  • Edited by Alister Chapman, John Coffey, Brad S. Gregory

  • 276 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Paperback | 9780268022983 | October 2009

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268076856 | October 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.

The introduction is followed by an essay by Brad Gregory reflecting on issues related to the study of the history of religious ideas. Subsequent essays by John Coffey, Anna Sapir Abulafia, Howard Hotson, Richard A. Muller, and Willem J. van Asselt explore the importance of religion in the intellectual history of Great Britain and Europe in the medieval and early modern periods. James Bradley shifts forward with his essay on religious ideas in Enlightenment England. Mark Noll and Alister Chapman deal respectively with British influence on the writing of religious history in America and with the relationship between intellectual history and religion in modern Britain. David Bebbington provides a concluding reflection on the challenges inherent in restoring the centrality of religion to intellectual history.