“The Legacy of a ‘Living Library’: On the Reception of John Smith”

Chapter in Revisioning Cambridge Platonism, Douglas Hedley, Sarah Hutton, and David Leech, eds. The International Archives of the History of Ideas. Springer. 2019.

Pre-publication text available here.




“John Smith on the Immortality of the Soul”

Chapter in Plotinus’ Legacy: Studies in the Transformation of “Platonism” 
from Early Modernism to the Romantics, Stephen Gersh, ed. Cambridge
University Press. Under review.

Reason Turned into Sense: John Smith on Spiritual Sensation

Reason Turned into Sense: John Smith on Spiritual Sensation, Peeters, 2017.

ISBN: 978-90-429-3482-5

Studies in Philosophical Theology, 62

John Smith (1618-1652), long known for the elegance of his prose and the breadth of his erudition, has been underappreciated as a philosophical theologian. This book redresses this by showing how the spiritual senses became an essential tool for responding to early modern developments in philosophy, science, and religion for Smith. Through a close reading of the Select Discourses (1660) it is shown how Smith’s theories of theological knowledge, method, and prophecy as well as his prescriptive account of Christian piety rely on his spiritual aesthetics. Smith offers a coherent system with intellectual intuition informing natural theology and revelation supplemented by spiritual perception via the imagination too. The central uniting feature of Smith’s philosophical theology is thus ‘spiritual sensation’ broadly construed. The book closes with proposals for research on Smith’s influence on the accounts of the spiritual senses developed by significant later figures including Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and John Wesley (1703-1791).