1736 - Joseph Butler, from The Analogy of Religion
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Chapter VII, "Of the Particular Evidence for Christianity" - Published the year that he was appointed in 1736 head chaplain to Caroline, wife of King George II., Butler's main work, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, attacks Deist writers whose approach to God consisted in arguing rationally from nature rather than from faith in the doctrine of revelation. Together with the Wesleyan revival, Butler's Analogy did much to diminish the appeal of Christian Deism in England. Working with a very limited understanding of modern biblical criticism, however, Butler understands revelation as a supplement to natural knowledge rather than as being of superior authority. The Analogy was widely read in Scottish universities and, by the early nineteenth century, also at Oxford, Cambridge and many American colleges. Admired by Hume and Wesley, Butler's work was also regarded with favor by members of the Oxford Movement, though criticisms of it had begun with Coleridge and were expanded in Leslie Stephen's strongly negative view at the end of the nineteenth century. (T. P.)