Flood of resentment
Assailing the primitive Church
in Reformation without end
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Conyers Middleton’s History of the Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero (1741) proved not to be a vehicle for personal and professional redemption. Its content rankled the orthodox, and the book failed to remove the heterodox stain to his reputation. While he profited financially from the publication, his ecclesiastical career remained stalled, his resentment metastasized and he returned again to overt polemical divinity. This chapter explores how orthodox coercion and punishment could intensify and deepen a polemical divine’s heterodoxy. It explains what about an ostensibly theologically neutral work bothered the orthodox. It explains why Middleton returned to overt polemical divinity during the mid 1740s, uninhibited by hopes of ecclesiastical promotion. Finally, it shows how his treatment of miracles focused on epistemological and hermeneutical problems that had long consumed him and whose origins he explicitly traced to England’s Reformation.

Reformation without end

Religion, politics and the past in post-revolutionary England

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