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Translating Feeling: The Bible, Affections and Protestantism in England c.1660–c.1750

  • Michael A. L. Smith (a1)
Abstract

This article examines the way in which English Protestants of the post-Restoration period translated the affective precepts of the Bible into their own devotional practice. In so doing, it challenges persistent narratives that have understood late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century religion as languishing under an apparent ‘reaction against enthusiasm’. By examining the language used in the life-writings of English Protestants in the north-west of England c.1660–c.1750, it demonstrates how biblical discourses on feeling were translated into lay and clerical accounts of their devotional practice. Drawing upon the work of Thomas Dixon and Barbara Rosenwein, the article shows the centrality of biblical injunctions to feeling within sermons and personal devotional practice. Moreover, it exhibits the manner in which affective discourses in the Book of Psalms in particular were used and translated into everyday religious experience. The Bible is shown as a text of affective instruction for the individuals discussed here.

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Corresponding author
* Flat 2, Village Gate, 15 Wilbraham Rd, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6EZ. E-mail: michaelal.smith@googlemail.com.
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Studies in Church History
  • ISSN: 0424-2084
  • EISSN: 2059-0644
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-church-history
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