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Religious Change in Europe 1650–1914Essays for John McManners$
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Nigel Aston

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205968

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205968.001.0001

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A ‘lay divine’: Burke, Christianity, and the Preservation of the British State, 1790–1797

A ‘lay divine’: Burke, Christianity, and the Preservation of the British State, 1790–1797

Chapter:
(p.185) 9 A ‘lay divine’: Burke, Christianity, and the Preservation of the British State, 1790–1797
Source:
Religious Change in Europe 1650–1914
Author(s):

Nigel Aston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205968.003.0010

The place of religion in the life of Edmund Burke remains a phenomenon as elusive as it is compelling, central to his vision in the 1790s. There are some areas of consensus. Most scholars, for instance, are in no doubt about the importance of religion for Burke in validating the existence of the State through an established Church, and in ‘consecrating’ its laws and institutions. This chapter's concern is the problematic issue of Burke's specifically Christian identity, particularly in his later years. His religious position is undeniably complicated and the element of the politique in his views steadily diminishes. He ends as catholic and eirenic, but not Roman Catholic, within an irreducible Anglican framework that defied both ready labelling or reduction to expediency, and satisfied his unshakable sense of the divine reality.

Keywords:   Edmund Burke, Christianity, British state, Church, religious identity, Anglicanism

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