Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian by Justin Champion

By Justin Champion

This publication explores the existence, inspiration and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670-1722). learning either his deepest archive and released works, it illustrates how Toland moved in either subversive and elite political circles in England and in another country. It explores the connections among his republican political suggestion and his irreligious trust approximately Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical institution and divine revelation, arguing that faraway from being a marginal and insignificant determine, Toland counted queens, princes and executive ministers as his buddies and political affiliates. particularly his intimate dating with the Electress Sophia of Hanover observed him act as a courtroom thinker, but additionally as a strong publicist for the Hanoverian succession. total the booklet illustrates how Toland's rules and impact impacted upon English political lifestyles among the 1690s and the 1720s.

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Extra resources for Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture, 1696-1722 (Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain)

Sample text

The study of antiquities – Roman, French or Celtic – was abundant. Again as will be discussed below, many of OHN 25 25 MUP/Champion_02_Ch1 25 27/2/03, 10:15 am Republics of learning these books by a variety of continental scholars (men like the Frenchman Pezron or the Irish scholars O’Flaherty and MacCurtin) formed the basis for intellectual projects undertaken by Toland. Without doubt this was a working collection: the dictionaries, lexicons and grammar books show the grounding of Toland’s scholarly routines.

Although it is not possible to be precise in detail, it was through Furly that Toland met many of the powerful men who provided the intellectual and political platforms for his public mission. These connections might originally have been made through the medium of a mutual interest in books, but they were to develop into relationships that produced a compelling series of public discourses. In reading these men’s books, Toland made himself a broker of cultural authority. Men like Anthony Collins (a gentlemen freethinker and intimate of Locke in his last years who was known to Toland from the early 1700s) threw open their substantial libraries for Toland’s use.

The library contained an impressive collection of republican political theory from Buchanan to Harrington, and the Vindicae contra tyrannos (Edinburgh, 1579) to Machiavelli. Supplementary were works of erudition (Spanheim, Kircher, Fabricius, Vossius, Selden) and biblical criticism (including the works of Richard Simon ‘suivant la copie de Paris’). But there was also a batch of more popular pamphlet literature. Especially prominent were the political writings from the 1680s and 1700s in particular those produced by the Commonwealth publishers Richard Baldwin and John Darby.

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