'Where Christian apologetics are concerned, is Locke to be endorsed, repaired, modified, or forsaken?' The diverse answers given to this question by the eighteenth-century divines form the complex subject of this book, which offers the first detailed account of his influence upon the religious thinkers of the eighteenth century. The work is based upon a thorough search of relevant materials, many of them scarce and widely dispersed.
But the question is still relevant three centuries after Locke's death, and Professor Sell's objective in this volume is not only historical. From this study of the reception of Locke by the divines there emerge pressing questions about method, reason, faith, revelation, and authority which need to be addressed by those who would attempt Christian apologetics as Christianity's third millennium approaches.
Although this book stands in its own right, it can also be read as a companion volume to the author's Philosophical Idealism and Christian Belief (University of Wales Press, 1995). Together, the two books represent soundings taken in important Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment intellectual traditions. The question whether an apologetic method may be found which avoids the pitfalls exposed both by the examination of Locke and the idealists, and which circumvents latter-day embargoes upon Christian apologetics, will be addressed in a third and final volume.