Review of The Religion of the Heart: A Study of European Religious Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

by Ted A. Campbell
Book Reviewed
Book Title
The Religion of the Heart: A Study of European Religious Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Book Author
Ted A. Campbell
Book Publisher
Wipf & Stock Publishers
Place of Publication
9781579104337 More info
Book Review Citation
Review Author
Richard A. Muller
The Journal of Religion
Select License
September 17th, 2012

Book Reviews

ology of classic form and major dimensions, recovering a rich treasure of theo- logical reflection capable of helping contemporary ecumenical discussions out of some of their impasses. Thus, his book deserves a much greater popularity than his publishers seem to expect.


JR., Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.


TED A. The Religion of the Heart: A Study of European Religious Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Columbia: University of South Caro- lina Press, 1991. xiif218 pp. $29.95 (cloth).

Ted Campbell's study of popular, affective religion in the seventeenth and eight- eenth centuries fills a gap in the survey literature of this period and, for the most part, does so ably. Campbell offers panoramic views of Roman Catholic move- ments, including the Jansenists and Quietists; British Calvinism, of both the Puri- tan and Scots-Irish variety; the Quakers; Lutheran, Reformed, and Moravian Pietism; the eighteenth-century English evangelical revival as centered on the Wesleys; and, finally, eastern European piety in its Greek and Russian Orthodox forms, plus a discussion of Hasidism. A concluding chapter discusses the sectar- ian tendencies of these various movements as well as the "dilution" and decline experienced in the gradual institutionalization of their piety. The book offers a balanced survey of these various movements and a useful discussion of their importance to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century religious life. Campbell con- vincingly looks beyond the differences between the movements to note their common, affective features: the experience of deep sorrow over sin and heartfelt repentance, personal illumination, and "insistence that the 'heart,' denoting the will and affections, . . . is the central point of contact between God and human- kind" (p. 3).

The survey character of the volume, however, leads to several lapses in detail. Campbell characterizes Johann Arndt as "a student of Philip Melanchthon"

(0. 79Leven thoueh Arndt was born in 1555 and Melanchthon died in 1560.

\. I 0

Connections between the religious movements and the theology of the time are sometimes passed by without clear note: thus, Campbell recognizes that Jansenism appeared Calvinistic to the Jesuits, that it raised a similar issue to that of the earlier controversy de Auxiliis, and that the Jansenists frequently argued their orthodoxy by citing Aquinas and later Dominican theologians (pp. 2 1,29), but he fails to note that the earlier controversy involved the Jesuit reinterpretation of Aquinas, accusations by Jesuits like Bellarmine that their Dominican adversaries were virtual "Calvinists," and the condemnation of sev- eral Dominican theologians, notably Baius and Baiiez, for their strict predestinarianism. The Jansenist appeal to Dominican theology was far less use- ful than Camobell imolies. Similarlv. Camobell indicates that Baxter held a view

,' I

of the extent of Christ's atonement that was somewhat broader than the view of those who limited the value of Christ's death to the salvation of the elect, but he fails to note that Baxter's view of the infinite sufficiency of Christ's death for all sin and the effective application of Christ's work only to those elect in Christ was hardly new and, indeed, was closer to the traditional Reformed confessional the- ology than the alternative.

This is not a definitive work, but it is a useful introduction that includes a solid bibliography for students wishing to pursue the subject further, although, as the

The Journal of Religion

above criticisms suggest, the bibliography is somewhat weak on the side of theol- 
ogy and intellectual history. 
RICHARD Calvin Theological Seminary. 



Reclaiming the Sacred: Lay Religion and Popular Politics in Revo- lutionary France. Ithaca, N.Y., and London: Cornell University Press, 1990. xviiiS263 pp. $33.50 (cloth).

In what is apparently Suzanne Desan's doctoral dissertation, she describes the impact of the French Revolution on the religious life of a section of what has come to be calledla France profonde, "deep France." She studies, not Paris there- fore, but the department of the Yonne, in Burgundy and the Paris basin, with Sens and Auxerre as its principal towns, and this in the years 1794-99. (To keep everything in perspective, note that these two towns had populations of 10,600 and 12,000, respectively. Only nine other towns had populations over 2,000.) Apart from its intrinsic interest, this kind of study is mandated not only by the current style in French historiography of France but also by the considerable dif- ferences among the departments of revolutionary France. In place of almost meaningless generalizations, one thus has the possibility of informed point-by- point comparisons. Desan's work is based largely on governmental documents, chiefly reports and correspondence.


In place of the benighted French peasant of myth Desan shows a population that remained attached to their Catholicism with energy and a certain resource- fulness. Did the Revolution promise freedom of religion? Very well, they would remain Catholic. Were the clergy exiled or at least hampered in their ministry or, if "constitutional," a bit suspect? Then they would have services conducted, with the customary Latin prayers (and with much bell ringing), by lay people, and if thwarted, they might riot. If legal steps by the menfolk were ineffective, the women took the lead, reinforcing for the future a prerevolutionary tendency. For the women, maintaining the sacred context of nourishing opened the way to greater political activity, and not necessarily on the monarchist right. Though the heavy hand of dissertation requirements lies over the first half of this book, the second half is written with grace. I recommend it, not only to period histori- ans, but also to Catholic scholars interested in precedents for lay leadership. JOSEPHFITZER,West Springfield, Massachusetts.


VIRGINIA From Sin to Salvation: Stories of Women's Conver- sions, 1800 to the Present. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 199 1. 152 pp. $29.95 (cloth); $10.95 (paper).

Virginia Lieson Brereton's book stands at the intersection of women's studies and religious studies. Of the two disciplines, it makes a more definite contribu- tion to American religious history. Brereton is efficient, thorough, and neutral in presenting the history of the Protestant evangelical conversion phenomenon and the changes in form and language from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. She traces the centrality of the conversion narrative pattern (from darkness to light, from misery to bliss, from lost to found) to our literary history; it is in the culture, deeply embedded in the English language. The metaphor informs advertising language and "out-of-church" transformation accounts.

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