Reason and Religion in the English Revolution: The Challenge of Socinianism

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Overview

This book provides a significant rereading of political and ecclesiastical developments during the English Revolution, by integrating them into broader European discussions about Christianity and civil society. Sarah Mortimer reveals the extent to which these discussions were shaped by the writing of the Socinians, an extremely influential group of heterodox writers. She provides the first treatment of Socinianism in England for over fifty years, demonstrating the interplay between theological ideas and political events in this period as well as the strong intellectual connections between England and Europe. Royalists used Socinian ideas to defend royal authority and the episcopal Church of England from both Parliamentarians and Thomas Hobbes. But Socinianism was also vigorously denounced and, after the Civil Wars, this attack on Socinianism was central to efforts to build a church under Cromwell and to provide toleration. The final chapters provide a new account of the religious settlement of the 1650s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mortimer’s study offers crucial insight into this previously ill-understood aspect of English history, shedding light on [Socinian] influence during the mid 17th century...there is much to be learnt from this impressive study about a whole range of interrelated debates that were of central importance to the religious and political developments of the period." -Richard Bell, Reviews in History

"...a valuable work..." -Ted Vallance, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Sarah Mortimer's examination of Socinian thought in England during the Revolution is long overdue." -Melissa M. Gladwell, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Eighteenth-century English Socinianism is deserving of further study and the way will be illuminated by Mortimer's very fine book." -Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth, Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sarah Mortimer is a Tutor at Christ Church, Oxford.

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Table of Contents

1 The Socinian challenge to Protestant Christianity 13

2 Socinianism in England and Europe 39

3 The Great Tew Circle : Socinianism and scholarship 63

4 Royalists, Socinianism and the English Civil War 88

5 Socinianism and the Church of England 119

6 Reason, religion and the doctrine of the Trinity 147

7 Anti-Trinitarianism, Socinianism and the limits of toleration 177

8 Socinianism and the Cromwellian church settlement 205

Conclusion The legacy of Socinianism 233

Bibliography 242

Index 259

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