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The reception of Christianity not mysterious, 1696–1702
Justin Champion

Reading scripture 3 . Reading Scripture: the reception of Christianity not mysterious, 1696–1702 religion ... it is more easy to guess what he was not, than to tell what ‘A heforwas. ’Tis certain, he was neither Jew nor Mahometan: But whether he S was a Christian, a Deist, a Pantheist, an Hobbist, or a Spinozist, is the Question’.1 Toland’s writings had ‘alarm’d all sober well-meaning Christians, and set the whole clergy against him’. Having explored how Toland lived and worked in a world of libraries and books, it is time to examine how his books worked in

in Republican learning
Open Access (free)
Patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture
Justin Champion

Subversive learning 8 . De studio theologia: patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture T oland had a clear and (to many contemporaries) dangerous political agenda. His public polemic on behalf of the Hanoverian succession had neatly blended a republican aspiration of establishing a government of reason with an internecine war against priestcraft and superstition. This warfare was fought on many fronts. The rules of engagement were diverse. In works like Christianity not mysterious, Toland articulated a public strategy of enfranchising the rights of the

in Republican learning
Thomas D. Frazel and Ralph Keen

his pen. It is agreed that Luther would have promised Cardinal Cajetan 23 that he would be silent, if he had also enjoined silence on his opponents. From which it can clearly be seen that indeed at that time he had not yet shown that he would in turn set other struggles in motion, but that he was desirous of tranquility, but little by little he was dragged into other subjects, with the uneducated challenging him on all sides with the Scriptures. Therefore Debates followed concerning the difference between divine and human laws, concerning the abominable profanation

in Luther’s lives
Elizabeth Vandiver and Ralph Keen

might deflect all suspicion of heresy from himself on to his adversaries, he joined a certain solemn protestation to the book, after his complaints to Staupitz and his letters to Pope Leo. In it he deferred not only to the Holy Scriptures, but also to the holy Canonical and Pontifical decrees and the Church Fathers; moreover, he desired to consider the judgment of his superiors sound in all matters.18 Then a learned body of poets and rhetoricians, who were also driven by hatred for his adversaries, pitied Luther, and argued diligently for him by tongue and pen, and made

in Luther’s lives
Justin Champion

ecclesiastical courts, and snubbed by prime ministers. The same man, and at the same times, was entertained by dukes, earls and lords, collaborated with leading ministers and flirted with the potential successor to the British throne. Toland moved in a number of different social, political and intellectual spaces. He was certainly an habitué of the coffeehouses of London, Oxford and Edinburgh. Sometimes he was indiscreet in his conduct, trashing kings and scripture in an outrageous manner. At other times he was more circumspect, gathering opinions, listening, drawing out the

in Republican learning
Open Access (free)
John Lydgate’s ‘Soteltes for the coronation banquet of Henry VI’
Heather Blatt

this scripture suying’, or 112 Participatory reading in late-medieval England ‘with this resoun’, and ‘with this reason folowyng’. This emphasizes the provision of verses in writing, as scripture, and through reasons, as mottoes, sentences, or verses.15 These descriptions attest to how the ‘Soteltes’ almost certainly offered their verses in a textual format.16 The textuality of subtleties accompanied by words is made even more explicit in records of the coronation feast of Henry VI’s mother, Catherine of Valois. Her coronation in the same place as Henry VI

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Open Access (free)
Imposters, legislators and civil religion
Justin Champion

manifest in a series of profoundly erudite and heterodox conversations about the nature of the soul, the sacred status of Scripture and political theory.1 The textual remnants of these conversations are the closest we can get to capturing the power of Toland’s intellectual charisma. Taking advantage of the ‘complete liberty of conscience’ established at Hanover, Toland, often encouraged by Sophia (much to the anxiety of Leibniz), engaged head on in disputation with many more pious and orthodox Christian believers.2 Although some historians have described Sophia as a wit

in Republican learning
Open Access (free)
Herman Melville
David Herd

audience of American academics, ‘are for the scholar’s idle times’.10 It was a sentiment in Emerson that pointed back, again, to Quakerism, to the Journal of George Fox, which Emerson had read with ‘a rising of joyful surprise at the correspondence of facts and expressions to states of thought and feeling, which are very familiar’. Thus ‘The American Scholar’, as critics have observed it, in the relation to textual authority it proposes, rehearses the experimentalism which characterized the Quaker relation to scripture; which found in scripture an incomplete statement of

in Enthusiast!
Steve Sohmer

anagrams were an accepted means of interpreting Scripture. Two of the best-known survivals are, first, the opening words of the ‘Hail, Mary’: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Libraries, friends and conversation
Justin Champion

primary function of these texts may not have been intellectual as much as social: subversive works may have acted as badges of identity, rather than carriers of precise philosophical meaning. The intellectual work of attacking the hegemonic discourses of orthodoxy carried out by Toland was undertaken by immersion in works of theology, scripture and patristics rather than by mere imitation and reproduction of the radical arguments of a subversive tradition. The pursuit of books was driven by both the ambitions of sociability and the intellectual priorities of the period

in Republican learning