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Enlightening EnthusiasmProphecy and religious experience in early eighteenth-century England$
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Lionel Laborie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089886

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089886.001.0001

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The final reformation

The final reformation

(p.78) 3 The final reformation
Enlightening Enthusiasm

Lionel Laborie

Manchester University Press

Chapter 3 explores the French Prophets’ system of beliefs against the backdrop of contemporary denominations in an attempt to understand their spiritual appeal to an English audience. It explores England’s long millenarian tradition before the Camisards found refuge in London. Their emphasis on religious experience (spirit possession, prophecy, gift of tongues, miracles, dreams and visions) over doctrinal boundaries enabled the French Prophets, and enthusiasts more generally, to appeal to all denominations alike. Their ecumenical ambition to reconcile Judaeo-Christian denominations into a Universal Church has been misunderstood as a form of sectarianism. This chapter argues on the contrary, that enthusiasm, as a religious experience, was ecumenical and irenic, that is the opposite of religious dissent.

Keywords:   Millenarianism, Dissent, Church of England, Ecumenism, Irenicism, Prophecy, Glossolalia, Miracles, Dreams, Spirit possession

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