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Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion : With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries [Paperback]

By Ronald a. Knox (Author)
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Item description for Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion : With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries by Ronald a. Knox...

Oxford Scholarly Classics brings together a number of great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in a uniform series design, they will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University of Notre Dame Press
Pages   622
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 5.19" Height: 1.34"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 1994
Publisher   University of Notre Dame Press
ISBN  0268009325  
ISBN13  9780268009328  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Ronald a. Knox

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! The late Right Reverend Monsignor Ronald A. Knox was Catholic Chaplain at Oxford University from 1926 to 1939 and domestic prelate to His Holiness Pope Pius XII in 1936. He was an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, editor of The Holy Bible: An Abridgement and Rearrangement, as well as translator of both the Old and New Testaments.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion : With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries?

Knox - one of the greatest Christian writers of our time  Nov 11, 2002
It's true, this is one of the few books by Ronald Knox that you can't just flip through in one sitting. You really have to pay attention. This is not "fast food" - and for a previous reviewer to dismiss Monsignor Knox, and this book, as "antimodernist", perhaps says more about the reviewer than about Monsignor Knox. I highly recommend that you print out the sample pages which this provides, and read them, slowly, carefully, lovingly. Knox's writing is his own best advertisement - you will see that the slower you read, the more you get out of it, and the more you WANT to read. At which point, buy it!
long winded, fact deprived  Oct 28, 2002
Reads like an inquisitors manual but unfortunately only repeats tired charges with the same scant evidence and thin standards that the original inquisitors used in their investigations. In the first third of the book only one piece of "solid" evidence is brought forth linking the anabaptist and the manichee. This fact being the common usage of the idea that "Christ passed through the Virgin Mother as water through a pipe." This is about as conclusive as asserting someone is from Alabama on the basis of saying "kit and kaboodle." The book is certainly fun to read, fans of Knox love it, it is full of inuendo and characterizations. "Heretics" meet in "nests" and the "virus" of protestanism spreads throughout the land. Obviously this is antimodernist hoopla which makes fun reading for those interested in Catholic historical narratives before the rise of sound scholarship. -JL
Outstanding work of theological history  Apr 24, 2001
Knox's "Enthusiasm" is a survey of the history of certain mystical trends, which the author dubs "ultra-supernaturalist", throughout the course of Christian history. Knox examines the various outbreaks in detail, especially those of the 17th and 18th centuries. Furthermore, he successfully and profoundly analyzes the psychological basis for all such movements.

This book is necessary reading for anyone interested in the history of fringe religious movements in general, any of the sects described here specifically, or the psychology of fanaticism.

I also recommend that students of Eric Voegelin read this book, as it provides much food for thought in light of his comments about the nature of gnosticism. Likewise, anyone who finds the psychological portions of this book interesting should look at Voegelin's work, which deals with similar issues from a philosophical perspective. I suggest that you begin with "Science, Politics, and Gnosticism" and then move on to "The New Science of Politics" to get a basic grounding in Voegelin. He and Knox share a fundamental insight - that fringe religious groups are motivated by an antinomian hatred for reality and society that seeks to destroy nature rather than to heal it, which is the goal of more mainstream religion. What Voegelin adds to the discussion is a deeper fund of historical examples of such attitudes, an investigation of a paralell set of ideas to be found in modern philosophy, and an understanding of how these ideas have influenced modern culture and politics (for example, Voegelin regards socialism, in all it's forms, as a secularized version of the same kind of anitnomian millenarianism to be found in, say the Montanists, who Knox investigates at length).

Desert Island Book  Apr 16, 2001
If you're British, you'll know 'Desert Island Discs', where celebrities name the eight records and one book they'd want to be marooned with on a desert island. Well, Enthusiasm is my Desert Island Book, and has been for many, many years; re-read at least fifteen times, and known partly by heart, it never palls.

The book itself is a survey of Christian 'enthusiasm' from the Corinthians to Father Divine, though focusing most on the 17th and 18th centuries; the nearest equivalent in recognisable modern times is the charismatic movement. (It was largely this book, together with the same author's 'Belief of Catholics', which converted me from a charismatic evangelical to a Catholic.) It's elegantly written, but that's only the half of it; there's a depth of learning and scholarship worn lightly, wit and humour which few other religious writers have ever achieved (Chesterton springs to mind); and, most of all, a compassion and sympathy for many of his subjects (not all; he's very scathing about the Jansenists and Mme Guyon). In all, a book which is wonderful to read, but also full of almost prophetic insights into the current situation in the Catholic Church, which Knox never saw (he died several years before the Second Vatican Council).

All I can say is "Buy it"!" You won't regret it.

Enthusiastic about "Enthusiasm!"  Aug 31, 1999
I read Mgr Knox's book when I was in high school, but have re-read it several times. I was taken aback by his sympathy & understanding of John Wesley. I haven't read anything more inspiring about Wesley written by a Methodist.His account of the struggle between Fénelon & Bossuet is masterful. One wonders what he would have thought of the modern televangelists. He would not have made fun of them, but would have discerned the basis of their appeal.This is a work of humanism, grounded on faith, but in no way condescending or superior.

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