<i>De studio theologia</i>: patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture

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:
De studio theologia: patristic erudition and the attack on Scripture

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter discusses John Toland's religious thoughts and his invocation of the authority of erudition, explaining that Toland's ambition was to deconstruct the credibility of clerical knowledge, or at the very least to expose the institutional processes which made clergymen's opinions masquerade as divine truth. To accomplish this ambition, Toland pursued a process of renovation by subversion from within, rather than one of revolutionary destruction. The chapter argues that the starting point for Toland's cultural hostilities was the canon of orthodox literature, and also analyses his learning, contending that it is neither profound nor shallow, but instrumental in accomplishing his goals.

Keywords: John Toland; religious thoughts; erudition; clerical knowledge; subversion; cultural hostility; orthodox literature

Chapter.  10640 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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