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Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America (review)

Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America (review) JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Fall 2010) Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America. By J. D. Bowers. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007. Pp. 282. Cloth, $50.00; Paper, $28.00.) Reviewed by David J. Voelker An old gibe declares that American Unitarians believe in the ``fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the neighborhood of Boston.'' Accordingly, most historians have emphasized the New England roots of the denomination's history. Two recent books, however, challenge the Boston-centered account of American Unitarianism. John Allen Macaulay's Unitarianism in the Antebellum South (Tuscaloosa, AL, 2001) argues that English Unitarianism inspired a number of southern congregations. J. D. Bowers goes further, contending that English Unitarians, led by Joseph Priestley, founded a Unitarian movement in America in the 1790s, well before Unitarianism emerged as a distinct denomination in New England. Bowers is at his strongest when he is charting the theological conflicts among the English Unitarians and the liberal and orthodox Congregationalists of New England. He best sums up his core analysis as follows: ``[English] Socinians were pitted against [New England] Arians in a heavily contested dispute over ownership of the Unitarian name, the parameters of theological liberalism, and the very identity http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 30 (3) – Aug 19, 2010

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University of Pennsylvania Press
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Abstract

JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Fall 2010) Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America. By J. D. Bowers. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007. Pp. 282. Cloth, $50.00; Paper, $28.00.) Reviewed by David J. Voelker An old gibe declares that American Unitarians believe in the ``fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the neighborhood of Boston.'' Accordingly, most historians have emphasized the New England roots of the denomination's history. Two recent books, however, challenge the Boston-centered account of American Unitarianism. John Allen Macaulay's Unitarianism in the Antebellum South (Tuscaloosa, AL, 2001) argues that English Unitarianism inspired a number of southern congregations. J. D. Bowers goes further, contending that English Unitarians, led by Joseph Priestley, founded a Unitarian movement in America in the 1790s, well before Unitarianism emerged as a distinct denomination in New England. Bowers is at his strongest when he is charting the theological conflicts among the English Unitarians and the liberal and orthodox Congregationalists of New England. He best sums up his core analysis as follows: ``[English] Socinians were pitted against [New England] Arians in a heavily contested dispute over ownership of the Unitarian name, the parameters of theological liberalism, and the very identity

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 19, 2010

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