Reason Turned into Sense

John Smith on Spiritual Sensation

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Derek Michaud
Studies in Philosophical Theology
  • Bristol, CT: 
    ISD Distributors
    , June
     251 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


John Smith (1618-1652), long known for the elegance of his prose and the breadth of his erudition, has been underappreciated as a philosophical theologian. This book redresses this by showing how the spiritual senses became an essential tool for responding to early modern developments in philosophy, science, and religion for Smith. Through a close reading of the Select Discourses (1660) it is shown how Smith's theories of theological knowledge, method, and prophecy as well as his prescriptive account of Christian piety rely on his spiritual aesthetics. Smith offers a coherent system with intellectual intuition informing natural theology and revelation supplemented by spiritual perception via the imagination too. The central uniting feature of Smith's philosophical theology is thus 'spiritual sensation' broadly construed. The book closes with proposals for research on Smith's influence on the accounts of the spiritual senses developed by significant later figures including Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and John Wesley (1703-1791).

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Derek Michaud is Instructor of Philosophy at the University of Maine.


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