The Plague of Dissent

Chris Beneke

in Beyond Toleration

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305555
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784899 | DOI:
  The Plague of Dissent

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The story opens in the first three decades of the 18th century when dissenters were still treated as political subversives and unorthodox doctrines still compared to contagious diseases. This chapter briefly summarizes the long history of persecution in Europe and America, emphasizing the ideal of religious uniformity and the practice of religious localism. It then traces the emergence of toleration and the limits of the “divine right of private judgment”. The chapter concludes with an account of an early religious controversy involving Benjamin Franklin to underscore the relationship between the growth of the print trade and the expansion of religious autonomy.

Keywords: dissent; disease; persecution; uniformity; Orthodoxy; localism; print trade; Benjamin Franklin; right of private judgment

Chapter.  14622 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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