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Enthusiasm by Ronald Knox
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Enthusiasm (1950)

by Ronald Knox

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If you need me to explain the sense of the word "enthusiasm", as it is used in this book, you probably lack the cultural suavity to get much from it. Still, in the interests of public enlightenment, it should be understood that the meaning is -- or for centuries WAS -- something very different from what it has been stretched-out to mean today, that is, a peppy and sustained approval. In earlier times it was applied pejoratively by Christian controversialists to any form of heterodox belief or practice, i. e., whatever they didn't like. Accordingly Father Knox applies the pandybat of his mainstream Roman Catholicism to the metaphorical fundament of any number of Protestant and Catholic thinkers alike. Despite his own wit and learning, he somehow emerges here as a high-falutin' bigot. Too bad. I mkjuch prefer to remember as the author of three of the best limericks I know, including the ones beginning, "There once was a man who said God . . ." and "Evangelical Bishop in want . . . " ( )
1 vote HarryMacDonald | Mar 11, 2013 |
3788. Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion With Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries, by R. A. Knox (read 24 Aug 2003) I happened to finish this book on the 46th anniversary of Monsignor Knox's death. This book came out in 1950 and I will not say I enjoyed all of it, but the parts dealing with Jansenism and Quietism were fascinating reading. It is a good book, full of interesting things but I probably read it too fast, with not enough "side bar" research. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 11, 2007 |
There were bound to be so many points of Interest in a book of religious history that I made no special note of them.
A difficult book to appraise. My first reaction was that it was a failure. His object appears to be to show what happens when Authority is abandoned in religion, but he is so carried away by detail that the point is forgotten, sometimes, for hundreds of pages at a time.
On the other hand this detail may be inevitable, in order to avoid being unfair to the people concerned. And there is no doubt that they are real people to the author. The book is a great source, no only of information about, but of understanding of the movement with thich it deals. It should certainly be used by anyone studying Jansenism or Quietism or Methodism or even the other subjects he touches on more lightly. It is probably not fair to try and read it straight through.
(notes written 1953)
  jhw | Apr 17, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0268009325, Paperback)

Oxford Scholarly Classics brings together a number of great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in a uniform series design, they will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:49 -0400)

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