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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

Chapter:
(p.111) Chapter Four Suspending Disbelief
Source:
The Fringes of Belief
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758772.003.0005

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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