- Series: Politics Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain MUP
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Manchester University Press; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0719080495
- ISBN-13: 978-0719080494
- Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 9.2 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,430,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Republican learning: John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696-1722 (Politics Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain MUP) Reprint Edition
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About the Author
Justin Champion is Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London
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Top Customer Reviews
Toland was a bitter critic of all clergymen, but especially of the 'popish' variety. He, like Locke, would extend none of their vaunted toleration to Catholics, because their priests seemed to dominate consciences too much, and seemed to have too much allegiance to Rome, and not enough to the English government. Toland was what we now call a 'culture warrior,' a subversive, one who learned the thought processes of the Church, and then turned those weapons back on the Church. He was greatly influenced by Baruch Spinoza, especially in his attempts to deligitimize the 'revelation' factor in the Bible. At page 204 and following, Champion does a good job of exposing Toland's corrupt patristic 'scholarship.'
The best feature of the book is its tracing of how Toland acted as a sort of intellectual middleman, between the average readers, and those within the circle of English political power. Champion frequently raises the age-old parlor game question, do books have any effect in real life? To me, there is no question that the answer is yes, if you look at the Bible, the Qu'ran, the pamphlet literature which led to the American Revolution, the works of Karl Marx, and Mao's Little Red Book. After reading Champion, i am convinced that Toland is a key link in the secularizing chain, between Spinoza, Toland, the American patriots (Adams, Jeffferon and Madison at least were anti-clerical, anti-popish)and the ultra-violent French revolution against the Catholic clergy and the appropriation of its property.
As a conservative traditionalist, i hope that Toland's tactics can be turned against him and the rest of the enlightenment. Even they cannot say that they are infallible, because that would be too popish, too dictatorial.