De studio theologia
Patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture
in Republican learning

This chapter discusses John Toland's religious thoughts and his invocation of the authority of erudition, explaining that Toland's ambition was to deconstruct the credibility of clerical knowledge, or at the very least to expose the institutional processes which made clergymen's opinions masquerade as divine truth. To accomplish this ambition, Toland pursued a process of renovation by subversion from within, rather than one of revolutionary destruction. The chapter argues that the starting point for Toland's cultural hostilities was the canon of orthodox literature, and also analyses his learning, contending that it is neither profound nor shallow, but instrumental in accomplishing his goals.

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Republican learning

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

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