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John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696–1722

This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670–1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how he moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. The book explores the connections between Toland's republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, he counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. In particular, Toland's intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that he shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. It also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. The book explores the connections between his erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church. Overall, it illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s.

New interdisciplinary essays

Francis Bacon produced his final draft of the New Atlantis around the years 1624-1625. Standing at the threshold of early modern thought, Bacon's text operates at the interstices of its contemporary culture and does indeed signal a desire to 'illuminate all the border-regions that confine upon the circle of our present knowledge'. This book presents a collection of essays that show how the New Atlantis negotiates a variety of contexts, namely literary, philosophical, political, religious and social, in order to achieve this. The narrative begins with a standard literary device. When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More's Utopia in mind as a model. For all his strictures on the use of language for rhetorical effect, Francis Bacon was thoroughly grounded in the Renaissance art of rhetoric. He consciously drew on his rhetorical skill in his writings, adapting his style as occasion demanded. The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. The book discusses two forms of natural knowledge that Bacon takes up and develops in the New Atlantis: natural magic, and medicine. The modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. The book also analyses Bacon's representations of colonialism and Jewishness in the New Atlantis has revealed. The New Atlantis raises questions concerning the relationship between censorship and knowledge.

Jerry Weinberger

technology have no air to breathe. That science and technology should arise and flourish depends importantly on the genuine truth of the Biblical revelation. Thus, as depicted in the New Atlantis, the modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. No wonder, then, that a central feature of the New Atlantis is a story about a miracle, told to the narrator to explain how the Bensalemites became Christians (47–9). According to the story, twenty years after the ascension of Christ, the

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Open Access (free)
Imposters, legislators and civil religion
Justin Champion

less orthodox account of Moses as a political legislator was advanced by the radical republican translator of Spinoza, Charles Blount. Moses was not the author of divine revelation but a legislator who expounded ‘the first originals of things after such a method as might breed in the minds of men piety, and a worshipping of the true God’.87 Importantly Blount used many of the classical sources that formed the basis of both Toland’s work and that of the Traité.88 Commenting on Moses passing the Red Sea, Blount noted (following Memphite tradition) that the legislator

in Republican learning
A dialogue with Islam as a pattern of conflict resolution and a security approach vis-à-vis Islamism
Bassam Tibi

discussed in this section in the following manner: First, Islam is a religion and framework for a civilization, 9 but it is – as argued earlier – not the proper object of the needed security approach, as Huntington suggests. Islam is a monotheistic religion based on divine revelation. As a world religion and civilization, it manifests great religious diversity, between

in Redefining security in the Middle East
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The reception of Christianity not mysterious, 1696–1702
Justin Champion

free-will’ against the ‘living Spirituous Christianity of the Scriptures’.73 William Payne’s sermons against Christianity not mysterious echoed these essays by insisting on the ‘Infallibility and Authority of Divine revelation’ against the feeble claims of reason.74 Similarly, Oliver Hill affirmed that without the inspiration of faith and revelation natural reason was ‘nothing’.75 Churchmen were in broad agreement: Toland’s defence of reason against the claims of faith compromised not only godliness but their authority too. Jean Gailhard joined in too. Human reason

in Republican learning
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Herman Melville
David Herd

the nineteenth century, the enthusiastic voice sounds loud through American history. Quakerism was a pure strain. Perplexed and unconvinced by the many reformist Christian sects available to him in the 1640s, George Fox determined, or was led to the conviction, that God was available to him only through personal revelations, ‘openings’ as he termed the experience, which is to say by a process of spiritual intuition. It followed that all people, nonbelievers and believers alike – Pagans for instance, Queequeg for instance – were capable of divine revelation, from

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
Culture, criticism, theory since 1990
Scott Brewster

fallibly mortal visitors withers away under the discouraging scrutiny of Galway, and to touch the oracle brings death. Roy Foster observes that late twentieth-century Ireland belies Shaw’s satirical vision of the Irish future: it is no longer a case of having the world and losing Ireland.44 In contrast to the Galway oracle, the site of Hillen’s oracle offers both abiding connections to nation and place and utopian possibilities. It is uncertain whether the flaming red skies that overhang the office buildings and O’Connell Street in Hillen’s collage presage divine

in Irish literature since 1990
S.J. Barnett

Enlightenment. An Interpretation. Vol. 1: The Rise of Modern Paganism (London: Norton, 1995; 1st edn 1966), p. 375. M. Tindal, The Rights of the Christian Church (4th edn, London, 1708), p. 114, and Christianity as Old as the Creation (London, 1730), pp. 59–60, quoted in Sullivan, John Toland and the Deist Controversy, p. 229. In his God and Government in an Age of Reason (pp. 144–5), Nicholls too notes that ‘some deists appear to have accepted the notion of divine revelation’. Sullivan, John Toland and the Deist Controversy, p. 232. J. McManners, Church and Society in

in The Enlightenment and religion
Open Access (free)
Patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture
Justin Champion

correct scholarly protocol in citation, ‘I constantly refer to the books wherein they are quoted, that everybody may inform himself of the fact’.33 Toland claimed to distinguish the genuine from the forged. Many ‘spurious pieces’ were forged by ‘more zealous than discreet Christians, to supply the brevity of the Apostolic memoirs’, others were made by Heathens and Jews ‘to impose on the credulity of many well dispos’d Persons, who greedily swallow’d any book for Divine revelation that contain’d a great many Miracles’. The ‘suppos’d writings of certain Apostolic men

in Republican learning