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The Fringes of BeliefEnglish Literature, Ancient Heresy, and the Politics of Freethinking, 1660-1760$
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Sarah Ellenzweig

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758772

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758772.001.0001

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Rochester, Blount, and the Faith of Unbelief

Rochester, Blount, and the Faith of Unbelief

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter One Rochester, Blount, and the Faith of Unbelief
Source:
The Fringes of Belief
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758772.003.0002

This chapter argues not only that Rochester's religious stance deserves an attention it has not yet received, but also that his condemnation of religion, evident also in his conversations with Burnet, is less starkly iconoclastic than it initially seems. Examining the “Addition” to the “Satyre,” this chapter reveals that Rochester's religious doubt is closer to the conservative skepticism of Swift than previously recognized It examines the variable content of Rochester's infidelity and asks how it changes the sense of Rochester's attitude toward religion and the character of English freethinking more generally. It also looks at the writings of Charles Blount, focusing on his Anima Mundi which was considered a heretical text.

Keywords:   condemnation of religion, John Earl of Rochester, Rochester's Satyre, English freethinking, Charles Blount, Anima Mundi

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