Print details Printable details


The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century: The I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church

The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century: The I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church
David Hempton

  • Hardback | Out of Stock | £29.50

    Email me when available
  • Hardback | Out of Stock | $51.00


David Hempton's history of the vibrant period between 1650 and 1832 engages with a truly global story: that of Christianity not only in Europe and North America, but also in Latin America, Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe, India, China, and South-East Asia. Examining eighteenth-century religious thought in its sophisticated national and social contexts, the author relates the narrative of the Church to the rise of religious enthusiasm pioneered by Pietists, Methodists, Evangelicals and Revivalists, and by important leaders like August Hermann Francke, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley. He places special emphasis on attempts by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and British seaborne powers to export imperial conquest, commerce and Christianity to all corners of the planet. This leads to discussion of the significance of Catholic and Protestant missions, including those of the Jesuits, Moravians and Methodists. Particular attention is given to Christianity's impact on the African slave populations of the Caribbean Islands and the American colonies, which created one of the most enduring religious cultures in the modern world.

Throughout the volume changes in Christian belief and practice are related to wider social trends, including rapid urban growth, the early stages of industrialization, the spread of literacy, and the changing social construction of gender, families and identities.

Author Info

David Hempton, formerly Professor of the History of Christianity at Boston University, was in 2007 appointed Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies at Harvard University. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a former winner of the Society's Whitfield Prize, his books include Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale University Press, 2005) and Evangelical Disenchantment (Yale University Press, 2008).


A series such as this is hugely welcome. Its emphasis on the history of ideas, and on the global not just European experience of Christianity and its manifestations of church, will be valued by students, scholars and general readers alike. The I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church brings ecclesiastical history into a new era, for a new generation.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford

As all good general histories must, this volume offers a clear structure, expertly chosen details, authoritative judgments, and forcefully direct prose. Yet David Hempton’s treatment of “the long eighteenth century” in the history of Christianity goes well beyond the usual requirements for a successful introduction. It is unusually sensitive to the most attractive as well as the most blameworthy aspects of its story; it blends large-scale political and imperial tectonics with telling biographical miniatures; it documents the deeds of women as well as men, the lowly as well as the exalted; and it exploits effortlessly a great range of scholarship. But above all, the book successfully combines fresh treatment of better-known European and American histories with probably the best general overview now available for the expansion of Christianity during the early-modern period from the Western to the non-Western world. In describing the complex transformations of western Christendom, Hempton is as illuminating as masters of this history like Hugh McLeod; in accounting for the even more complicated developments of the worldwide story — from central Russia to Sierra Leone, from Alaska to the Congo, from China to Brazil — he joins the rarefied company of Dana Robert, Andrew Walls, and only a few others. The result of this unusually adept combination is a terrific addition to I.B.Tauris’ outstanding general series.
Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

The social history of eighteenth-century Christianity is typically framed by pietism, Enlightenment, and revolution. David Hempton broadens and deepens the classic narrative by foregrounding the expansion of Christianity as a worldwide movement, including such themes as missions, European encounters with the 'other,' slavery, and Orthodoxy. He transforms old and new interpretations into an exciting and readable overview that makes sense in our contemporary global context. This fine book will remain an essential introduction to the subject for years to come.
Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Boston University

'This promises to be an impressive and valuable series.'
Stewart J. Brown, FRSE, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Edinburgh

'The new I.B.Tauris History of the Christian Church series has quickly established an enviable reputation for impressive scholarship.'
Journal of Ecclesiastical History

‘David Hempton’s latest book is the best, most authoritative, and most imaginative overview of the history of the world-wide Christian Church in the period between the late 17th and early 19th centuries we have to date... intended as a survey and introduction, this does much more than that, and offers not only a wide-ranging synthesis of research, but a compelling interpretation of the changes within the Christian Church in the period... Hempton’s account of the Protestant Evangelical Revival is a tour de force’
Professor Jeremy Gregory, Reviews in History

'This bald summary cannot really do justice to the sophistication of this book. Hempton’s always readable prose is shot through with fascinating insights into the nature of Christianity.'

'This is an excellent book... Hempton provides a framework for someone with no prior knowledge of the period, as well as fresh insights for the established scholar.'
W.M. Jacob, Wesley and Methodist Studies


Awarded the Albert C Outler Prize by the American Society for Church History in 2012.

Described by the prize committee as a work of "stunning scope and imagination," Hempton's book is a global history of early modern Christianity in its sophisticated national and social contexts. He relates the narrative of the Church to the spread of European empires, the enlightenment, and the rise of missions and religious enthusiasm pioneered by Counter Reformation Catholics, Pietists, Methodists, and Revivalists.

About the award:
The award is presented to the author of the best monograph, biography, critical edition, or bibliography published in the two previous calendar years in ecumenical church history broadly conceived. "Ecumenical" includes topics relating to the quest for a fuller understanding or unity within Christianity or between Christianity and other religions. Previous winners of the prestigious Outler prize include Nathan Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (1988), Jon Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith (1989), and E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America (2004).


Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: I.B Tauris History of the Christian Church

ISBN: 9781845114404
Publication Date: 29 Sep 2011
Number of Pages: 240
Illustrations: maps

Also of Interest

Priests, Prelates and People: A History of European Catholicism, 1750 to the Present

Priests, Prelates and People
Nicholas Atkin, Frank Tallett

A History of the Inquisition of Spain: And the Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies

A History of the Inquisition of Spain
Henry Charles Lea
£520.00 | $860.00

New Book Alerts

Sign up now

Powered by Google