Persecution or Toleration: An Explication of the Locke-Proast Quarrel, 1689-1704

Persecution or Toleration: An Explication of the Locke-Proast Quarrel, 1689-1704

by Adam Wolfson


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This book traces, in detail, the complex contours of the Locke-Proast debate over the question of toleration-revealing the radical case John Locke made on behalf of toleration. Arguing against the pro-persecution arguments of Jonas Proast, Locke developed a broadly humanistic case for toleration rooted in liberal notions of consent, human dependency, and skepticism. Locke's theory would extend to a wide range of religious believers and even atheists. However, at the same time, according to Locke, toleration requires an overcoming of the religious worldview, rather than an emergence out of theological assumptions, as many scholars argue. Ultimately, the success of toleration involves more than institutional reforms such as the separation of church and state or a mere modus vivendi among fighting faiths; it entails a shift in core religious beliefs and identities and a fundamental change in religious believers themselves. By undertaking a careful reading of the quarrel between Locke and Proast, this book furthers our understanding of the political alternatives of persecution, toleration, and pluralism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739147221
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 09/20/2010
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Adam Wolfson holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and has previously served as editor of The Public Interest and consulting editor of Commentary. He is assistant chairman for programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities and visiting assistant professor of government in the Claremont McKenna College's Washington, D.C., Program.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Locke and His Interpreters 1

2 Authority and Consent 21

3 Force and Belief 39

4 Faith and Knowledge 59

5 Toleration or Pluralism 79

Postscript 101

Works Cited 105

Index 109

About the Author 113

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