Reformation principles : the religious and political ideas of Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761)

Rutherford, Susan Lesley (2000) Reformation principles : the religious and political ideas of Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761). Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

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Benjamin Hoadly (1676-1761), successively Bishop of Bangor (1716), Hereford (1721), Salisbury (1723) and Winchester (1734), was a Latitudinarian divine and one of the foremost Whig propagandists of his generation. Contemporary Nonjuring, High Church and Tory opponents maintained that he was an ambitious, unprincipled opportunist who employed the secular reason of Deists and atheists to foster anarchy in the Church and rebellion in the state. So far, historians have only discussed Hoadly in a number of articles, parts of theses or in a few pages in long histories of the period. Moreover, the work which has been carried out has tended to focus on his political or his religious ideas and has in general reinforced the view presented by contemporary opponents. The purpose of this present study is to give the first comprehensive understanding of Hoadly's religious and political views. Hoadly was a polemicist rather than an abstract philosopher, and a study of six debates during the period 1700-1737 has displayed the dynamics of his thought, as well as casting light on the temper of the age. The findings challenge the traditional interpretation of Hoadly and reveal that the Bishop was not an unprincipled opportunist, but a committed Protestant and a staunch Whig. The work has also found that his intellectual debt to the Christian religion and the early Protestant reformers has been ignored or underestimated. This thesis argues that in religious and political debates, Hoadly continually appealed to what he considered to be the principles and practices of early Christianity and the Reformation. Furthermore, it contends that the Bishop did not aim to destroy but to reform, by challenging superstition and opposing persecution in Church and state, as well as championing individual religious and political liberties.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: V300 History by topic
V600 Theology and Religious studies
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:26
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:56

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