Fatih Durgun is a PhD candidate at the Department of History, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.
Restorationist Counter-Enlightenment: Thomas M'Crie on the Concept of Civil Liberty†
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2014
© 2014 The Author. Journal of Religious History © 2014 Religious History Association
Journal of Religious History
Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 476–498, December 2014
How to Cite
Durgun, F. (2014), Restorationist Counter-Enlightenment: Thomas M'Crie on the Concept of Civil Liberty. Journal of Religious History, 38: 476–498. doi: 10.1111/1467-9809.12053
This article is based on my earlier research on the historical works of Thomas M'Crie, entitled “Enlightenment and Reformation in the Historical Writings of Thomas M'Crie,” (Unpublished M.A. thesis, Bilkent University, 2007). For their helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Stewart J. Brown, C. D. A. Leighton, David Thornton, Zeki Sarıgil, Selim Tezcan, Alperen Topal, M. Burak Özdemir, and Fatih Çalışır.
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2014
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2014
Enlightenment notions for Counter-Enlightenment purposes have not to date been used to provide a comprehensive context for Scottish religious history-writing in the age of Counter-Revolution and Restoration. The Evangelical historian and divine Thomas M'Crie's studies on Scottish Reformation history, Life of John Knox and Life of Andrew Melville, published in 1811 and 1819 respectively, exhibit an abundance of historiographical material for research. M'Crie was among the most renowned writers of his own time, but his historical works have been briefly passed over in recent secondary sources. The main purpose of this study is to rescue M'Crie's historical works on the Scottish Reformation past from near oblivion. This article argues that M'Crie produced an apology for the Scottish Reformation, adopting an aggressive style that attacked Scottish Enlightenment historians and thinkers such as William Robertson and David Hume, especially in the matter of their treatment of John Knox and Andrew Melville. M'Crie tried to restore his chosen past in order to influence the religious and political affairs of Scotland. In M'Crie's Counter-Enlightenment historiography, the concept of civil liberty and Presbyterianism become interchangeable in a Restorationist religio-political discourse. That is why M'Crie's enthusiasm for the Scottish Reformation constitutes the most representative example of the Presbyterian interpretation, which held its own against Enlightenment influence.