By J. G. A. Pocock
During this first quantity, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, John Pocock follows Gibbon via his younger exile in Switzerland and his criticisms of the Encyclop?die and strains the expansion of his ancient pursuits right down to the belief of the Decline and Fall itself.
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Additional resources for Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764
England and Switzerland, – politics of the period put strains upon the formulation of Christian belief. Some non-jurors, as we have seen, moved from a strong doctrine of the unity of church and king to declaring that the church retained its apostolic character even under a false king and therefore enjoyed it independently of any king at all. ²⁰ Those who denied that the Church of England possessed authority to do this sometimes denied that it was an apostolic communion deriving spiritual authority from Christ himself; it was no more than a voluntary, or a lawfully imposed, association of those professing common opinions and beliefs about him.
Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. , n. ( in Bury), calls him ‘that learned historian, who is not suﬃciently known’. ⁵⁹ Howel, , , sig. A b. ⁶⁰ It was the late John Kenyon whom I once heard declare that James II was in his own way an Anglican.
It is a matter of controversy among historians how great this distance was. For the recent literature on Jacobitism see Cruickshanks, and ; Lenman, ; Colley, ; Szechi, ; McLynn, ; Monod, . Putney, Oxford and English Enlightenment the names of ‘the standing army’, ‘the national debt’ and ‘public credit’, which were to make Great Britain capable of acting as a major power in Europe and America, but at the same time to produce profound new tensions within English political society and transform the English and Scottish perception of history and the place of Britain within it.
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764 by J. G. A. Pocock