The Age of Reason Additional Summary

Thomas Paine


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Aldridge, Alfred Owen. “The Age of Reason.” In Man of Reason: The Life of Thomas Paine. London: Cresset, 1960. Provides an excellent summary of the argument developed in The Age of Reason. Describes the work’s publication history and critical reception.

Davidson, Edward H., and William J. Scheick. Paine, Scripture, and Authority: “The Age of Reason” as Religious and Political Idea. Bethlehem, Pa.: Lehigh University Press, 1994. Discusses Paine’s subversiveness and notes how The Age of Reason appears to authorize a world order that depends on the traditions it criticizes.

Foner, Eric. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. Updated ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. An updated edition of the book originally published in 1976. Examines Paine’s political and social ideas and describes the new form of political writing in which he expressed these concepts.

Larkin, Edward. “The Science of Revolution: Technological Metaphors and Scientific Methodology in Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.” In Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Treats Paine as a literary figure, describing how his writings “translated” eighteenth century political theories into a language that was accessible to the public.

Nelson, Craig. Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations. New York: Viking, 2006. Nelson argues that The Age of Reason is not an expression of Paine’s atheism but advocates eighteenth century Deism and is part of the “mainstream Anglo-American religious discourse” of its time.

Popkin, Richard H. “The Age of Reason Versus The Age of Revelation: Two Critics of Tom Paine, David Levi, and Elias Boudinot.” In Deism, Masonry, and the Enlightenment, edited by J. A. Leo Lemay. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987. Shows how Paine’s humanistic Deism was opposed to orthodoxy.

Wilson, Jerome D., and William F. Ricketson. “Reaction to Organized Religion.” In Thomas Paine, edited by Patricia Cowell. Boston: Twayne, 1989. Describes the historical and social contexts of The Age of Reason and notes how the essay stands as a remarkable example of classic eighteenth century Deism.