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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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‘Winning souls’ or ‘unlimited speculation’?

‘Winning souls’ or ‘unlimited speculation’?

Colleges and Universities

(p.191) 11 ‘Winning souls’ or ‘unlimited speculation’?
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of education on the Dissenters. Education could directly undermine religious faith or damage it indirectly by providing an alternative avenue for intellectual curiosity, by offering students increased opportunities for secular employment, and by furnishing substitute outlets for philanthropic activity. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, education came to occupy in the minds of Unitarians, the central place filled by conversion in the minds of Evangelical Dissenters. By the end of the nineteenth century, education similarly replaced conversion in the minds of many supposedly orthodox Nonconformists, and as with the Unitarians, education proved an important stimulus to the secularization of Dissent.

Keywords:   Dissent, Dissenters, education, religious faith, Unitarians, religions conversion, Nonconformists, secularization

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