Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Divines of the Church of England 1660–1700 > Influence of Foreign, and especially of French, Culture upon English Divines
  Robert Nelson’s Companion for the Festivals and Fasts  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XII. Divines of the Church of England 1660–1700.

§ 23. Influence of Foreign, and especially of French, Culture upon English Divines.


The period of the later Caroline divines, from 1660 to 1700, has no conspicuous literary merit: it is a period of learning and common-sense rather than of conspicuous originality. Moreover, it may be observed how little it was associated with European culture or indebted to foreign influence. Ken read Spanish and may very likely have been influenced by the holy life of Pavillon, a model French bishop. Many English ecclesiastics treated French ecclesiastics with courtesy. But English preachers did not take the French for their model, and English theologians seemed to pay little heed to what was being said over sea. There could be no greater contrast than that between the attitude of the Elizabethans and the later Carolines towards foreign literature—between Hooker, for example, and Barrow or Bull. Interest in the church abroad, in the east among the oppressed Christians in Turkey, and in the assertion of Gallican liberties, began, it is true, to grow at the end of the century, and it was fostered by the non-jurors; but, for the most part, English theology remained apart from the current of European thought. Its expression was becoming more simple, more direct, more typically national.   30

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  Robert Nelson’s Companion for the Festivals and Fasts  
 
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