updated 20.11.2020

Moral Reformation

My monograph, The Moral Reformation in Scotland, will chart the development of a practical piety in Restoration Scotland. It will show how, under the influence of Gilbert Burnet – Bishop of Salisbury after 1689 – the Scottish theology of moral reform came to influence the language of religion in Britain and in Europe between 1660 and 1730.

By adopting a truly British perspective, it will offer a re-reading of what has become known to English historians as the ‘moral revolution’ of 1688. Whereas others have associated the moral revolution with the inheritance of English ‘Puritanism’, or the Dutch invasion, this book will show that its origins can be traced to Scotland, where a prominent group of Episcopalians developed a theology of moderation.

The book will first examine in detail the ‘moral reformation’ of Scotland by Episcopalians surrounding the Restoration bishop of Dunblane, Robert Leighton. Responding to what they saw as Presbyterian failure to develop a suitably practical divinity, the ‘Leightonians’ asserted the practical utility of Christ’s gospel message, which could, they believed, reunite Christians who had been divided over outward observances.

This book will show how the ideas of this group had dramatic effects on the thought and practice of the English Church throughout the long eighteenth century, and demonstrate the influence of Scottish ideas on Pietist movements across Europe.

Projects

  • The Moral Reformation in Scotland is under contract with Oxford University Press for publication in its Studies in Historical Theology series of monographs
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