updated 1.10.2020

Moral Reformation

The Moral Reformation in Scotland will chart the development of a practical piety in Restoration Scotland and shows how, under the influence of Gilbert Burnet, the 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 shows that its origins are to be found in Scotland, where a prominent group of Episcopalians developed a theology of moderation.

The book first examines in detail the “moral reformation” by Scottish Episcopalians surrounding the Restoration bishop of Dumblane, 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 shows how the ideas of this group had dramatic effect on the thought and practice of the English Church throughout the long eighteenth century, and how Scottish ideas influenced Pietist movements on the continent.


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