Factions, seditions and schismatical principles
Puritans and Dissenters
in Reformation without end
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This chapter anatomizes the dispute between Zachary Grey and Dissenting historians like Daniel Neal who together mined the recent English past for ammunition in eighteenth-century religious and political fights. It locates these historical debates within efforts during the 1730s to repeal the Test and Corporation Acts. It then charts the development of Grey’s take on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English history. It shows that while the seventeenth-century wars of religion were over, their causes and lessons remained contested. Precisely because the causes and lessons of those wars were not settled, polemical divinity retained practical political value. The chapter also uses Zachary Grey’s anti-Dissenting historical scholarship further to consider the economic realities of polemical divinity. While religious works continued to dominate booksellers’ catalogues, they had to be pitched and packaged in ways that were marketable. Grey’s anti-Neal tracts were hardly profitable. The chapter concludes by examining a work of English historical scholarship that was financially successful: Zachary Grey’s scholarly edition of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras.

Reformation without end

Religion, politics and the past in post-revolutionary England


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