Employing an interdisciplinary approach that gives equal consideration to Campbell's secular and religious writings, Jeffrey Suderman argues that Campbell used the critical tools of the Enlightenment to defend an orthodox Christian faith. This conclusion will oblige both historians and critics of the Enlightenment to reassess long-held assumptions about the secular nature of eighteenth-century thought and culture.
George Campbell (1719-1796) has long been regarded as a seminal figure in the development of modern theories of persuasion, but modern students of rhetoric seldom look beyond his Philosophy of Rhetoric to his equally important religious writings. Campbell is portrayed as a secular figure, and his contributions to eighteenth-century Christian apology have been largely forgotten. In his own time, however, Campbell had an international reputation as a champion of the Gospel miracles against the sceptical assaults of the philosopher David Hume and as a respected biblical scholar and authority on Church history.
Orthodoxy and Enlightenment is the first study to deal with the entire range of Campbell's interests and publications. Suderman sets Campbell firmly in his eighteenth-century context, reconstructing his life and times from contemporary and manuscript sources. He argues that while Campbell's wide-ranging scholarly and scientific interests made him as much a man of the Enlightenment as his better-known contemporaries Voltaire and Hume, he used the critical tools of the Enlightenment to defend a sincere and orthodox Christian faith.
The detailed reconstruction of Campbell's apologetic system will be of interest to students of history, philosophy, literary criticism, rhetoric, and religious thought, as well as to general readers interested in the eighteenth century.