Enlightenment and reformation in the historical writings of Thomas M'Crie
Leighton, Cadoc D.
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There are a limited number of studies of post-Enlightenment Scottish historiography and these are mainly concerned with the imaginative literature products of the period. However, there were many reflections of the conflicts and discussions about religious, political and social matters in the historiography of period from the Enlightenment to the separation of the Evangelicals from the Established Church of Scotland in the Disruption of 1843. My research aims at investigating the outstanding themes in the works of a post-Enlightenment Scottish history-writer, Thomas M’Crie. The reception of the Enlightenment ideas—as we perceived it in the texts—by an early nineteenth century Scottish historian and divine will not only show the perception of these ideas by an individual but also will bring forward to the much neglected issue of the relationship between the Enlightenment and the Evangelical movement within and outside the Church of Scotland. M’Crie’s historical works are very important for their depiction of a particular contribution, made most firmly by the Seceders to the intellectual environment and religio-political discussions of the time. His works were an attempt to restore the estimation of the Scottish Reformation past in reaction to an Enlightenment historiography, which attacked this heritage as a hindrance to progressive ideas and fuller integration into the British state. His restorationist and Counter-Enlightenment view was a Scottish manifestation of a movement in Europe at large responding to the dangerous ideas disseminated by Enlightenment thinkers and actions of the French Revolutionaries.
Church of Scotland