Respublica mosaica: imposters, legislators and civil religion

Justin Champion

in Republican Learning

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780719057144
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700259 | DOI:
Respublica mosaica: imposters, legislators and civil religion

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter focuses on the activities of John Toland under Sophia of Hanover, his intimacy with whom Toland used as a theatre for the display of his arguments. He advanced a clear and profound defence of commonwealth principles, especially by supporting the interest of the Protestant succession against popery. The convergence of Toland's public and private discourse resulted in the publication of his Letters to Serena, which established the connections between such metaphysical speculation and more mainstream political thought. The chapter also considers Toland's characterisation of Moses as a republican legislator and an exemplary model for the conduct of contemporary politics. It suggests that Toland's work on Moses laid the foundation for practical suggestions in reforming the confessionalism of political culture, and that the veneration of the Mosaic institution was to be a prescriptive model for political and religious reform.

Keywords: John Toland; Sophia of Hanover; commonwealth principles; Protestant succession; Letters to Serena; Moses; confessionalism; political culture; religious reform; political reform

Chapter.  10803 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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