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Mystery UnveiledThe Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England$
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Paul C. H. Lim

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339468.001.0001

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Many Weapons, One Aim: Trinitarian Reactions to John Biddle in Context

Many Weapons, One Aim: Trinitarian Reactions to John Biddle in Context

(p.124) 3 Many Weapons, One Aim: Trinitarian Reactions to John Biddle in Context
Mystery Unveiled

Paul C. H. Lim

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the various reactions to Biddle's anti-Trinitarian perspectives. In addition to the typical Puritan attacks from Matthew Poole, Nicholas Estwick, Benjamin Needler, there were Catholics, Laudians, and Arminians who joined in the fray, for while they might confessionally or ecclesiologically be divided, yet on the Trinity, their common foe, Biddle, brought them together. Another key under-explored source are manuscript notes detailing the disputation between Peter Gunning and Biddle in 1654. This Bodleian MS Rawlinson C 166 is a crucial source in providing insights into the politics of heresy and the specifics of theological and exegetical debates focused on the Trinity. The third under-utilized manuscript is another Clark Library manuscript B8535 M3, which contains sermon notes taken by a London fishmonger John Harper, mostly of his Presbyterian minister, Benjamin Needler, lecturer of St. Margaret Moses, London, from 1655 till 1662. From his sermons of the 1650s, one gets a clear sense of the Biddlean threat acutely felt by the London Presbyterians, thus prompting them to hold a month-long morning exercise throughout the City in May 1659, preached by twenty-eight pastors, covering the entire gamut of systematic divinity.

Keywords:   John Biddle, anti-Trinitarian, Matthew Poole, Nicholas Estwick, Benjamin Needler, Trinity, Peter Gunning, John Harper, Presbyterians

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