The Life of Joseph Butler

Life and Death

John Locke

1632 - 1704

Johnathon Swift

1667 - 1745

Irish satirist. Author of 'A Modest Proposal,' and 'Gulliver's Travels.' Generally writing mockingly against a wide assortment of subjects.

George Berkeley

1685 - 1753

"All we know of the world is sense-based knowledge; all sense-based knowledge of matter is really knowledge of ideas of matter... to be is to be perceived; what appears to be in the physical universe is really only our idea of matter... all ideas reside, ultimately, in God's mind.

Alexander Pope

1688 - 1744

English satirist and poet

***Joseph Butler***

18 May 1692 - 16 June 1752

Born into a Presbyterian family at Wantage, Berkshire, England. Died in Bath, Somerset, England.

Francois Marie Voltaire

1693 - 1778

French satirist. Popularizes views of Isaac Newton and John Locke. Endorses key values of enlightenment.

David Hume

1711 - 1776

Hume begins in empiricism but ends in skepticism. We can know nothing of cause and effect or any of the laws and principles that guide nature.

Jean Jacques Rousseau

1712 - 1778

the social contract; "the supposed agreement among citizens and their rulers as to their mutual obligations."

Denis Diderot

1713 - 1814

produces 'Enclyopedie'


1724 - 1804


William Penn's "holy experiment"


Penn, a Quaker, was arrested several times for his practices in Anglican England. He is given a tract of land from King Charles II as a repayment of debt owed to Penn's father. Penn's colony affords provisions for religious toleration as well as various other freedoms to other groups.

The Glorious Revolution


a.k.a. the revolution of 1688. William III and Mary II take the throne of england from King James II.

William II and Mary II become joint monarchs of Britain


Parliament draws up the Declaration of Right detailing the unconstitutional acts of King James II. James' daughter and her husband, his nephew, become joint sovereigns of Britain as King William III and Queen Mary II. Parliament passes the Bill of Rights. Toleration Act grants rights to Trinitarian Protestant dissenters.

Queen Mary Dies


Founding of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel


An organization in which anglican missionaries promoted Christianity to slaves

King William III dies


Succeeded by his sister in law, Queen Anne.

Queen Anne dies


Succeeded by the Elector George of Hanover, King George I.

Rococo Art Style

1715 - 1770

Characterized by "sunlit landscapes and the idyllic entertainments of the aristocrats. In interior design, brightly painted walls, gilded curves, floral splay and fanciful shells created light, airy environments." This is contrasted with the "dark, dramatic themes of the Baroque period."

First circulating library in Britain


Opens in Edinburgh; "Gulliver's Travels" published the same year.

Sir Isaac Newton and King George I die


First Great Awakening

1734 - 1760

Occurring in English colonial America. Important to consider in understanding its role in undermining ecclesiastical authority while emphasizing a personal, immediate, and intense connection with God. Really, the "end" is a little ambiguous, but the program doesn't allow me to do "1760's ish"

Queen Caroline dies


wife of King George II

Methodist Movement started in Britain


John & Charles Wesley

Adoption of Gregorian Calendar in Britain


Positions, Places, and Calls


1692 - 1712


1712 - 1714

Student at Jones' Academy. Butler was sent here in preparation for the Presbyterian ministry, but later moves towards Anglicanism.


1714 - 1718

Student at Oriel College; Butler is moved here by his father after Joseph decides to follow after the Church of England rather than the Presbyterian church.

Ordained by Bishop Talbot


preacher to the Rolls Chapel

1719 - 1725

Chancery Lane, London

Rector of Stanhope

1725 - 1740

chaplain to Queen Caroline, wife of George II

1736 - 1737

Served as chaplain until the Queen's death in 1737

Bishop of Bristol

1737 - 1750

Bristol was one of the poorest sees and Bishop is said to have "expressed some displeasure in accepting it."

dean of St. Paul's

1740 - 1750

Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London

Bishop of Durham


One of the richest bishoprics, served until his death.


Fifteen Sermons...


Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel Upon the following Subjects. Upon Humane Nature. Upon the Government of the Tongue. Upon Compassion. Upon the
Character of Balaam. Upon Resentment. Upon Forgiveness of Injuries. Upon SelfDeceit. Upon the Love of our Neighbour. Upon the Love of God. Upon the Ignorance of Man. By Joseph Butler, L.L.B. Preacher at the Rolls, and Rector of Stanhope in the Bishoprick of Durham. London: Printed by W. Botham, for James and John Knapton, 1726, 312p.

The Analogy of Religion...


Several editions reprinted of the work, some posthumously.

The Analogy of Religion, natural and revealed, to the constitution and course of nature. To Which are Added, Two Brief Dissertations: I. Of personal identity. II. Of the nature of virtue. London, printed for James, John and Paul Knapton, 1736, x, 11-320p

Several individual sermons

1739 - 1751

Six Sermons on Public Occasions


The Durham Charge


A Charge deliver'd to the Clergy, at the primary visitation of the Diocese of Durham, in the year, MDCCLI. Durham, I. Lane, 1751, 29p