Winstanley: the early writings

John Gurney

in Brave Community

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780719061028
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700747 | DOI:
Winstanley: the early writings

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter discusses Winstanley's early writings and the development of his religious ideas. Winstanley's four earliest pamphlets were produced in a remarkably short space of time, but each had its own distinct character. In these early writings Winstanley drew on recognisable traditions of religious radicalism to advance arguments of great originality. He did so moreover with a clarity and directness that set these tracts apart from many of the other radical spiritualist and perfectionist writings that were published in the later 1640s. Together these works bore witness to the rapid development of Winstanley's ideas, and to the increasing confidence with which he was able to give expression to them. His early writings challenged conventional understandings of God, the Fall and salvation, but also prefigured the arguments used later to advance the Diggers.

Keywords: religious radicalism; pamphlets; spiritualist writings; perfectionist writings; radical spiritualist

Chapter.  15449 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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