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Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture, 1696-1722 (Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. April 2009

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"This is a significant contribution based on extensive new research, and is likely to be the standard account of Toland for many years to come." --David Wootton, Queen Mary, University of London


This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free thinker John Toland (1670 - 1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how Toland moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. It explores the connections between his republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, Toland counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. The book argues that Toland shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy, but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. The book also examines how Toland used his social contacts to distribute his ideas in private. It explores the connections between Toland's erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian 'knowledge' as much as the political power of the Church.

The book illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life. It portrays a fascinating character in early modern history, of great interest to scholars and enthusiasts of the period.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent content, well written 6. März 2010
Von Joseph M. Hennessey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Republican Learning serves as a superb complement to Robert E. Sullivan's John Toland and the Deist Controversy. (I wish the editors/publisher had chosen the subtitle, "John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture, 1696-1722, which better describes the book's content, and Republican Learning might sound as if it has something to do with American political party.) This book takes a more narrow, focussed angle, demonstrating Toland's talent for engaging in polemics directed at the British ancien regime of government supported by the established Anglican Church.

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.
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