Protestant Pluralism
Title Details

21st September 2018

220 Pages

15.60 x 23.40 cm

Series: Studies in Modern British Religious History

Imprint: Boydell Press

Protestant Pluralism

The Reception of the Toleration Act, 1689-1720

by Ralph Stevens

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The 1689 Toleration Act marked a profound shift in the English religious landscape. By permitting the public worship of Protestant Dissenters (largely Presbyterian), the statute laid the foundations for legal religious pluralism,albeit limited, and ensured that eighteenth-century English society would be multi-denominational.
The 1689 Toleration Act marked a profound shift in the English religious landscape. By permitting the public worship of Protestant Dissenters, the statute laid the foundations for legal religious pluralism, albeit limited, and ensured that eighteenth-century English society would be multi-denominational. However, the Act was rushed, incomplete and on many issues fundamentally ambiguous. It therefore threw up numerous practical difficulties for the clergy of the Church of England, who were deeply divided about what the legislation implied.
This book explores how the Church reacted to the legal establishment of a multi-denominational religious environment and how it came to terms with religious pluralism. Thanks to the Toleration Act's inherent ambiguity, there was genuine confusion over how far it extended. The book examines how the practicalities of toleration and pluralism were worked out in the decades after 1689. A series of five case studies addresses: political participation; the movement for the reformation of manners; baptism; education; and the use of chapels. These studies illustrate how the Toleration Act influencedthe lived experiences of the clergy and the effects that it had on their pastoral role. The book places the Act in its broader context, at the end of England's 'long Reformation', and emphasises how, far from representing a defining constitutional moment, the Act heralded a process of experimentation, debate and adjustment.

RALPH STEVENS is a Tutor in History at University College Dublin.
Introduction
Religion after the Revolution
Public Office
Reformation of Manners
Education
Baptism
Chapels
Protestants in Hanoverian England
Conclusions
Bibliography
"A very good guide to the fierce factionalism within the established Church. The book is a model of clarity and balanced judgment [and] is impeccably researched." CERCLES
"Clear and insightful. Stevens succeeds in explaining an important but largely misunderstood piece of legislation and its ramifications." CONGREGATIONAL HISTORY SOCIETY MAGAZINE
"This is a highly engaging and significant contribution to the history of England's 'long Reformation,' and should be of great interest to scholars of religion, politics, and the parish in seventeenth and eighteenth-century England." JOURNAL OF CHURCH AND STATE
"This is an excellent book and will become essential reading for all future scholars of religious toleration." REVIEWS IN HISTORY
"A particularly valuable aspect of the book is its illustration of the pastoral, as well as the political, anxieties of the post-1689 Church of England." PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY
"By examining the Church of England's reaction to the Toleration Act, Stevens adds significantly to our understanding of the act and its impact on religion and politics in the three decades after 1689. . . . [His] original approach and very well-researched book yields important new insights which historians will want to consider." H-NET
"Should be read by all those interested in the history of the English church in this period, and provides a useful backdrop against which to view local evidence of Anglican hostility (or otherwise) to `schismatics'." FACHRS NEWSLETTER
"Recommended." CHOICE
"Ralph Stevens's deeply researched Protestant Pluralism is a tour de force of deft analysis and
lively exposition. It surpasses all previous accounts of the major subjects it touches, illuminating several formative episodes in the development of the post-1689 Church of England. If every work of history were written like this, a reviewer's task would be much easier." Scott Sowerby, Journal of British Studies

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Title Details

21st September 2018

220 Pages

1.56 x 2.34 cm

Series: Studies in Modern British Religious History

Imprint: Boydell Press