British views on religion and religions in the age of William and Mary

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion


The article provides a glimpse into the antecedents of the modern study of religion and religions by outlining the extent and variety of the different attitudes to other religions that are to be found in works published in Britain around the last decade of the seventeenth century. After noting the character of the contemporary debate about reason, religious belief and revelation that provides the background to many of the references to other religions and that significantly moulds their content, the article considers, in turn, the style and range of references to other religions, views on so-called "natural religion" and on the universality of religious belief, and the ways in which Judaism and Islam were treated. The article closes with some remarks on what this material suggests about the motive, source materials and method involved in the study of religion.

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