18 episodes

The Deist Controversy was an extended debate that took place first in England and then Continental Europe roughly from the late 1600s through the mid 1700s. The deists, most of whom believed that there was a god worthy of worship who had created the world, denied special divine action beyond creation. Hence they claimed that Christianity as a revealed religion was false or even contemptible. A wide array of scholars responded to the deists and the resulting arguments shaped a landscape of ideas that largely persists to the present day.

This podcast series consists of eighteen lectures delivered as a graduate-level online course at Western Michigan University, USA, 11 May - 1 July 2015 by Timothy McGrew, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy. The series was produced in collaboration with the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford University Faculty of Theology and Religion, as part of the Special Divine Action project, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

Ian Ramsey Centre: The Deist Controversy Oxford University

    • Education

The Deist Controversy was an extended debate that took place first in England and then Continental Europe roughly from the late 1600s through the mid 1700s. The deists, most of whom believed that there was a god worthy of worship who had created the world, denied special divine action beyond creation. Hence they claimed that Christianity as a revealed religion was false or even contemptible. A wide array of scholars responded to the deists and the resulting arguments shaped a landscape of ideas that largely persists to the present day.

This podcast series consists of eighteen lectures delivered as a graduate-level online course at Western Michigan University, USA, 11 May - 1 July 2015 by Timothy McGrew, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy. The series was produced in collaboration with the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford University Faculty of Theology and Religion, as part of the Special Divine Action project, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

    • video
    Lecture 01: Introduction: What was the Deist Controversy?

    Lecture 01: Introduction: What was the Deist Controversy?

    The first lecture gives a brief overview of the Deist controversy, what Deism is, and when the controversy was. This also includes an introduction to some of the major authors involved on both sides of the discussion.

    • 11 min
    • video
    Lecture 02: Background: Civil History of England

    Lecture 02: Background: Civil History of England

    This lecture is a brief introduction to the political and religious climate in England which set the backdrop to the Deist controversy.

    • 14 min
    • video
    Lecture 03: Background: History of Science

    Lecture 03: Background: History of Science

    This lecture is a quick summary of the history of science from Aristotle to Newton. Dr McGrew also includes a brief discussion of why the history of science is important to the Deist controversy.

    • 22 min
    • video
    Lecture 04: Background: Philosophical and Religious Thought

    Lecture 04: Background: Philosophical and Religious Thought

    In this lecture Dr McGrew gives a short history of philosophy and religion, especially the lesser known figures, which affected and influenced the thoughts of the authors involved in the Deist controversy.

    • 11 min
    • video
    Lecture 05: Early Deism: Herbert, Spinoza, Blount

    Lecture 05: Early Deism: Herbert, Spinoza, Blount

    This lecture begins a detailed discussion of Deistic thought, starting with the early Deists, Herbert of Cherbury, later plagiarized in Charles Blount’s Reglio Laici, and Baruch Spinoza, with responses from Stillingfleet and Boyle.

    • 39 min
    • video
    Lecture 06: Early Deism: Early Responses; Toland

    Lecture 06: Early Deism: Early Responses; Toland

    This lecture continues the early response to Deism with Richard Baxter, including his view of the relationship between faith and reason, plus Locke, Halyburton, and Leslie. The thoughts of the Deist John Toland are also discussed.

    • 39 min

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