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Title: Religious Thought
Authors: Coffey, John R. D.
First Published: Jul-2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Citation: Coffey, JRD, 'Religious Thought', 'The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution' ed. Braddick MJ, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 447-465
Abstract: This chapter approaches the English Revolution as a theological crisis, a struggle over the identity of British Protestantism. During the mid-1640s, the Westminster Assembly laboured to reform the church and establish confessional orthodoxy, but despite producing a series of major documents, its presbyterian majority faced serious challenges from Erastians, Independents, and the growth of ‘sects and heresies’. While clergy like Richard Baxter, John Owen, Jeremy Taylor, and Richard Allestree produced works that soon acquired classic status, the Revolution also witnessed a spectacular proliferation of lay theology, ranging from high Reformed orthodoxy to the heterodox doctrinal systems of John Milton, Sir Henry Vane, and Thomas Hobbes. England became a marketplace of competing religious ideas, and religion exercised a powerful influence over political and scientific discourse. Although England’s ‘puritan Revolution’ ended in failure, the religious thought of this period was to prove seminal for later Calvinists, Anglicans, and Quakers.
DOI Link: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199695898.013.025
ISBN: 9780199695898
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © 2014 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. This material was originally published in The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution edited by Braddick MJ, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press ; For permission to reuse this material, please visit
Description: The file associated with this record is under a 24-month embargo in accordance with the Publisher's Self-Archiving Policy, available at The full text may be available in one of the links provided.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, School of Historical Studies

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