Overview

Thomas Edwards

(c. 1599—1648) Church of England clergyman and religious controversialist


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Thomas Edwards was born in London and died of an ague in Holland on 24 August 1647. He received his education at Queen's College, Cambridge (BA, 1622; MA, 1625). Though he was incorporated into the University of Oxford in 1623 Edwards continued to reside in Cambridge where, after his ordination, he became known as ‘the young Luther’ for his fiery preaching. His attacks from the pulpit on the Arminian tendencies in the Laudian Church of England got him into trouble with the authorities, and he was obliged in 1628 to make a public recantation. He subsequently quit Cambridge for London, but his licence to preach was suspended by Laud. He became a zealous supporter of the Presbyterian party in the Parliament of the 1640s, the conservative and authoritarian wing of the Puritan movement. His later writings are mostly directed against the Independents and the various ‘sectaries’ of his day, castigating their ‘errors’ and ‘heresies’ and denying their right to secede from the state Church. His Gangraena (1646) caused such an outcry that he retired for a while to Holland, where he died.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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