Religious Toleration

Philip Milton

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199556137
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Religious Toleration

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion



This article describes the implications for religious toleration of various non-cognitive views of religious belief, especially those adopted by Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, and Pierre Bayle. It suggests that while these men were of very different philosophical outlook, they did all share a deep hostility to the combination of clerical intolerance, scholastic philosophy, and pagan superstition that Hobbes labelled the Kingdom of Darkness. They all firmly held the view that the clergy should never wield power and they only differed on the powers the civil authorities possessed over religion.

Keywords: religious toleration; religious belief; Thomas Hobbes; Baruch Spinoza; John Locke; Pierre Bayle; clerical intolerance; scholastic philosophy; pagan superstition; civil authorities

Article.  9919 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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