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Thomas Woolston - William H Trapnell

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Thomas Woolston - madman and deist?
William H Trapnell
UK Publication Date

The King's bench sentenced Thomas Woolston to prison in 1729 on a conviction for blasphemy according to an erroneous commonlaw precedent. The decision comforted his fellow clergymen who were answering his attacks on clerical privilege and literal exegesis by vengeful polemic. In the "Discourses on the Miracles of our Saviour" (1727-1729) and other works, he insists on a figurative exegesis and professes a spiritual Christianity which he attributes to the Church Fathers and the early Christians. His criticism implies a commitment to the verification of all alleged facts by the same criteria regardless of the theological consequences. His doctrine had raised a scandal at Cambridge where the Sidney fellow preached sermons and published a treatise in defence of it. A depression over the hostile reaction to these works may have been a pretext for allegations of madness and his temporary confinement. His alienation remains unsubstantiated and his writings refute the traditional charge of deism.

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Keyword Index
Theology, Doctrinal - Early works to 1800.|Deism - Great Britain - History - 18th century.
Country of Publication
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