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BRENT S. SIROTA -- THE OCCASIONAL CONFORMITY CONTROVERSY, MODERATION, AND THE ANGLICAN CRITIQUE OF MODERNITY, 1700–1714 (2014) | The Historical Journal, 57, pp 81-105 - Cambridge Journals Online - Abstract
BRENT S. SIROTA - North Carolina State University -- The occasional conformity controversy during the reign of Queen Anne has traditionally been understood as a straightforward symptom of the early eighteenth-century ‘rage of party’. For all the pious rhetoric concerning toleration and the church in danger, the controversy is considered a partisan squabble for short-term political gain. This traditional interpretation has, however, never been able to account for two features of the controversy: first, the focus on ‘moderation’ as a unique characteristic of post-Revolutionary English society; and second, the prominence of the Anglican nonjurors in the debate. This article revisits the occasional conformity controversy with an eye toward explaining these two related features. In doing so, it will argue that the occasional conformity controversy comprised a referendum on the Revolution settlement in church and state. Nonjurors lit upon the practice of occasional conformity as emblematic of the broader malady of moderation afflicting post-Revolutionary England. From their opposition to occasional conformity, the nonjurors, and soon the broader Anglican high-church movement, developed a comprehensive critique of religious modernity that would inform the entire framework of debate in the early English Enlightenment. -* I thank James Vaughn, Steve Pincus, Bill Bulman, Robert Ingram, and the participants in the ‘God and the Enlightenment’ conference at Ohio University in October 2012 for their generous engagement with earlier drafts of this article. Thanks also to Phil Withington and the anonymous reviewers for their assistance in shaping this article into its final form.
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august 2014 by dunnettreader

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