In writing this book I have incurred many debts and made many friends. My main thanks and appreciation must go to Mark Goldie, who has directed my studies in one form and another for most of the 1980s while I was both an undergraduate and research student at Churchill College, Cambridge: he has managed to combine enthusiasm with inspiration, and the necessary scholarly chiding with charm. Thanks, too, must be gratefully extended to John Marshall and Robert lliffe, for the frequent and valuable conversations or 'cabals' we have had. Perspectives, objectives and intentions have not always been harmonious but, for me at least, the outcome has always been fruitful. In undertaking research, friends are as important as colleagues. Getting away from, as well as being immersed in, work is essential: so thanks to those who have at different times put up with my obsessions, irritability, untidiness and depressions - in particular, Matthew Arcus, Bernard Attard, Michael Berlin, George Conyne, Heather Creaton, Stewart Eames, Andrew Hanham, Shelagh Johnson, Derek Keene, Tamas Liptak, Jon Luke, Olwen Myhlll, Tony Trowles, Tim Underhill, and Mary Wilmer.

In general my work could not have been so efficient and effective without the co-operation and dedication of the staff of all the libraries I have used: but special thanks are due to the people of the Rare Books Rooms in the University Library, Cambridge. Throughout my research they have been consistently friendly, informative, tolerant and helpful: in the last few months of my original research I must have tried their patience to the limit. In the process of converting my work from thesis to book I have had the advice and help of many people who gave up their time to read and criticize. In particular, Silvia Berti and Michael Hunter gave accurate and stimulating comments. Participants of the various seminars at the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Romance Studies in London, and of others in Oxford and Leiden, where some of the ideas in this book were tested, should also be acknowledged. A special mention should be made for all those who attended the Foundation for Intellectual History Seminar in the Summer of 1990 in Leiden: a more splendid and fertile environment I have not <xii> encountered. Conversations and correspondence with Professor Richard Popkin have proved invaluable in developing new approaches to early modern unbelief. For allowing me to test my ideas on them, many thanks must also be extended to all the students I have taught in Cambridge and London. While acknowledging all those who have read, criticized, applauded and condemned my work, I accept the end result replete with its quirks, grumblings and idiosyncrasies as entirely my own responsibility. Many thanks also to the Isobel Thornley Bequest Fund, who gave a generous grant in aid of publication.

A final acknowledgement must go to those who have had to put up with me at closest quarters: my partner Sylvia Carter, who has suffered the burdens of living with someone obsessed at times with the past rather than the present, with a stern, patient, and loving good humour. Also to my family who have always been there when I needed them.

© 2023 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 - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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