The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690 - 1805

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

In the European Enlightenments it was often argued that moral conduct rather than adherence to certain theological doctrines was the true measure of religious belief. This book shows that the characteristically “enlightened” emphasis on conduct in religion was less reliant on arguments from reason alone than is commonly believed. In fact, the champions of the Scottish Enlightenment were deeply skeptical of the power of unassisted natural reason in achieving “enlightened” virtue and piety. They advocated a practical program of “moral culture,” in which revealed religion was of central importance. The book traces this to theological controversies going back as far as the Reformation concerning the key question of early modern theology, the conditions of salvation. It examines these themes in Scottish Enlightenment thought in the period from the Glorious Revolution until the early nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven, CT
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)0300153805, 9780300153804
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameThe Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History
PublisherYale University Press

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Enlightenment
  • natural religion
  • Christianity
  • moral culture
  • moral philosophy
  • Scotland
  • eighteenth century
  • moderates
  • Orthodoxy
  • Presbyterianism


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