Religion and National Identity: Governing Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century (Hardback)Alistair Mutch (author)
Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 31/03/2015
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What is the enduring impact of Presbyterianism on what it means to be Scottish? Presbyterianism has shaped Scotland and its impact on the world. Behind its beliefs lie some distinctive practices of governance which endure even when belief fades. These practices place a particular emphasis on the detailed recording of decisions and what we can term a 'systemic' form of accountability. This book examines the emergence and consolidation of such practices in the 18th century Church of Scotland. Using extensive archival research and detailed local case studies, it contrasts them to what is termed a 'personal' form of accountability in England in the same period. The wider impact of the systemic approach to governance and accountability, especially in the United States of America, is explored, as is the enduring impact on Scottish identity. This book offers a fresh perspective on the Presbyterian legacy in contemporary Scottish historiography, at the same time as informing current debates on national identity. It has a novel focus on religion as social practice, as opposed to belief or organization. It has a strong focus on Scotland, but in the context of Britain. It offers extensive archival work in the Church of Scotland records, with an emphasis on form as well as content. It provides a different focus on the Church of Scotland in the 18th century. It offers a detailed focus on local practice in the context of national debates.
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 23 mm
"This book is an important addition to the study of Scottish Presbyterianism and piety, with a close examination of church records that indicate the way in which administrative records not only give an account of the religious shaping of the nation, but lie at the heart of the Presbyterian identity that has marked the nation since the middle of the sixteenth century." -- Kenneth B. E. Roxburgh, Journal of Church and State
"The author's prose is surprisingly light for the subject matter and it is obvious that, when it comes to the examination of presbytery records, he has done as much sorting and summarising as he can while still supporting his arguments with evidence. The text is also leavened by delightful anecdotes and surprising facts...The book closes with six appendices which offer readers opportunity to examine Mutch's collected data in greater detail. For specialists I suspect these annexes will be essential reading and a spur to further research." -- JAMES J. S. FOSTER, Scottish Historical Review
"Beautifully written... this is a book to be commended." -- Graeme Morton, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies
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