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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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Suspending Disbelief

Suspending Disbelief

Swift, Credulity, and the Pious Fraud

(p.111) Chapter Four Suspending Disbelief
The Fringes of Belief
Stanford University Press

This chapter shows that Jonathan Swift remained profoundly committed to safeguarding religion's place in the social and political institutions of eighteenth-century England. In Swift's various writings on religion, fictional and nonfictional, one can see the full bloom for the English Enlightenment of religion's status as a pious fraud, a strategy that was crucially informed, once again, by a theory of religion rooted in ancient theology. This discussion explores how A Tale of the Tub succeeds in upholding the teachings of the Anglican Church.

Keywords:   ancient theology, Jonathan Swift, English Enlightenment, eighteenth-century England, A Tale of the Tub, Anglican Church

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