Catalogue Entry: OTHE00053


Author: Justin Champion

Source: The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken: The Church of England and its Enemies, 1660-1730 (1992).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]

[1] E. Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution, (ed.) J. G. A. Pocock (Indianapolis, 1987), 72.

[2] Ibid., 76-7, 80-1.

[3] S. Shapin and S. Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump, 69.

[4] Locke, Essay, IV, xvi.8-11.

[5] Molesworth, Account of Denmark, Sig. B3r.

[6] Dennis, Vice and Luxury, 'A Short Discourse', 106, 108, 112-15, 117, 121-2.

[7] See above, pp. 1-18.

[8] Sullivan, Toland, 35, 55, 67, 213, 218, 227; see also 251, 272-3.

[9] See Emerson, 'Latitudinarianism and the English Deists', esp. 33-43.

[10] See essays by Wootton and Berman in Hunter and Wootton (eds.), Atheism; and Berman, History of Atheism, passim; Berman, 'Deism, Immortality and the Art of Theological Lying'; for Wootton, see 'Lucien Febvre and the Problem of Early Modern Unbelief', Journal of Modern History (1988), and 'Unbelief in Early Modern Europe', History Workshop (1985).

[11] M. C. Jacob, 'Hazard Revisited', 251, 252, 254-5; Jacob, Radical Enlightenment, 22-3, 25, 84.

[12] See ibid., passim; Berman, 'The Art of Theological Lying', 77. It is the overarching argument of Berman's work that atheism was covert: this has led to some rather exceptionable interpretations of certain texts. Much emphasis is laid upon Toland's Clidophorus as pronouncing the hidden method. I hope to show elsewhere that this is a misreading of an epistemological argument for a pragmatic one.

[13] Sullivan, Toland, 41, 47, 120, 251.

[14] See D. Patrick, 'Two English Forerunners of the Tübingen School: Thomas Morgan and John Toland', Theological Review (1877), where the author remarks upon the 'really startling' coincidences between the arguments of Nazarenus and Bauer's 'The Christ Party in the Corinthian Church' in 'Tübingen Zeitschrift (1831). As Patrick points out, Toland was the first to argue that the idea of a canon was merely a list of books rather than a rule of faith. For these reasons he claimed that it was 'by no means irrelevant' to argue for the primacy of English theological interpretation over German (see 593-9).

[15] See M. A. Goldie, 'Ideology', in T. Ball, J. Farr and R. L. Hanson (eds.), Political Innovation and Conceptual Change (Cambridge, 1989), 272-3.

[16] See M. T. Hogden, Early Anthropology (Pennsylvania, 1964); P. Harrison, 'Religion' and the Religions, passim. The latter work, which only came to my attention in the final stages of this book, argues for a similar moment of anthropological awareness. Harrison's enterprise is distinct from mine in his emphasis upon tracing the rise of a natural history of religion as a secular study of the religious. Harrison sees this as driven by a 'new and much vaunted scientific method': my argument would suggest that the new perspective evolved from the polemical dimensions of the radical attack upon priestcraft.

[17] S. Nye, A Discourse Concerning Natural and Revealed Religion (1696), 128; C. Blount, Religio Laici (1683), 3.

[18] The phrase 'priestly nature' is Marx's: describing man's emancipation from the rule of religion he wrote: 'But if Protestantism is not the true solution it was at least the setting out of the problem. It was no longer a case of the layman's struggle against the priest outside himself, but of his struggle against his own priest inside himself, his priestly nature'; see 'A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law' in Marx and Engels, On Religion, 46.

[19] Toland, Collections, II, 222, 246-7.

© 2021 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC