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Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment BritainNew Case Studies$
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Ruth Savage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227044.001.0001

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Martin Clifford and his Treatise of humane reason (1674)

Martin Clifford and his Treatise of humane reason (1674)

A Europe-wide debate

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Martin Clifford and his Treatise of humane reason (1674)
Source:
Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain
Author(s):

Giovanni Tarantino

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227044.003.0002

In 1674, Martin Clifford, a secretly atheist headmaster entrusted with the task of moulding the future governing class among young men in London, anonymously published a treatise calling for a critical confutation of constituted authority, faith in one’s own rational convictions, and tolerance towards other people’s opinions and beliefs. Clifford’s book circulated widely in erudite circles in Europe, in the form of a French translation by the Unitarian William Popple, adding fresh impetus to the long-running debate on toleration between Jurieu, Saurin, and Bayle. Clifford’s (and Locke’s) translator, Popple, had direct experience of what it was like to be a member of a minority both in post-Revocation France — he was a Protestant exile there — and in England, as a Unitarian rationalist excluded from the benefits of the Toleration Act. Jurieu claimed that Bayle drew on the ‘libertine theology’ expressed in the Traité de la raison humaine, the watered-down French version of the Treatise.

Keywords:   Pierre Bayle, Martin Clifford, deism, Pierre Jurieu, John Locke, William Popple, reason, toleration, Unitarianism

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