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Orestes Brownson and the Problem of Revelation

The Protestant Years

Series:

Arie J. Griffioen

Orestes Brownson (1803-1876) is known as the foremost American Catholic lay apologist of the nineteenth century. However, before his conversion to Catholicism in 1844, Brownson labored for nearly twenty years as a Protestant, publishing prodigiously and debating frequently with leading luminaries of his day, including William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Using little known and underutilized primary sources, this book traces Brownson’s theological development as a Protestant against the backdrop of the post-Enlightenment problem of establishing the grounds for the possibility of divine revelation. As such, it offers an excellent vantage point into the antebellum American intellectual context while allowing Brownson’s Protestant thought to stand on its own as an original and enterprising intellectual response to the religious problems of the day.