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Title: The attitude of Edmund Burke (1729-1797) toward Christianity and the Churches
Author: McCabe, Joseph E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1951
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Abstract:
The purpose of this thesis is to bring to light the attitude of Edmund Burke (1729-1797) toward Christianity and the churches. Burke's impact on eighteenth century politics, and his rank as a philosopher, have been the subjects of many specialized studies, as well as being essential to any comprehensive view of the century in which he was such a power. However, there exists no adequate treatment of his religious thought, and it is the centrality of that theme which justifies this investigation of his life and works. In the first chapter I have attempted to set forth a brief sketch of Burke's life. Some twelve or more biographies have already appeared, and it is obviously impossible to box the compass of his many-sided life in so short a space. However, I have been guided in this first chapter by the central purpose of the study, that is, I have attempted to call attention to the religious aspect of his speeches and writings within the larger framework of the chief events of his lifetime. The examination of the Wentworth Woodhouse Manuscripts at Sheffield and the Milton Manuscripts at Lamport Hall yielded some most interesting biographical data not hitherto published, and I have Incorporated some of that material in this introductory chapter. The second chapter will carry the reader into the heart of the thesis. Here I set down Burke's attitude toward the major religious problems toward which he turned his prolific mind, together with an appraisal of his personal religion and integrity. The original work in this chapter has a two-fold aspect. First, I have endeavoured to bring together for the first time, from all Burke's published works and correspondence, the essential material on these themes. Secondly, the investigation of hundreds of Burke's hitherto unpublished letters, and his private notebooks, has made possible a fresh and comprehensive assise of his religious thought. The third chapter deals with Burke's political thought. Here I am of course indebted to all those who have so carefully and adequately set forth his political philosophy. Any claim to originality in this chapter is derived from the delineation of the religious presuppositions which Burke brought to the affairs of state. That Burke held such presuppositions has long been common knowledge; I simply document the proposition and endeavour to show how integral was his religious thought to his political philosophy. The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters are concerned with Burke's attitude toward The Established Church, The Dissenting Churches, and The Roman Catholic Church, respectively. There was little to be said of his attitude toward the establishment that had not already been recorded; hence chapter four is the shortest in the study. In the chapter on Dissent, however, I attempt to trace Burke's transition from a position of champion to that of cool detachment and then vigorous opposition. In the study of the Roman Catholic Church there is some hitherto unpublished material which sets into sharper focus his concern and lifelong sympathy, not only for Catholic Snancipation, but for the Roman Catholic Church as such.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.657527  DOI: Not available
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