Independence and Religious Tolerance?

What did the idea of independence have to do with the expansion of religious toleration in the West? See the project director’s article ‘Religious Toleration and Ecclesiastical Independence’ which just appeared in the journal Church History. Abstract: By the mid-seventeenth century, radical Protestant tolerationists in Britain and the British Atlantic began to conceive of religious liberty as a civil liberty applicable to all subjects, in contrast to contemporary puritans who limited toleration to orthodox Protestants.  This essay seeks to explain why certain puritans, however small in number, came to adopt radical views on toleration in contrast to the religious mainstream in the Anglophone world.  Drawing upon a longer history of ecclesiastical independence than considered in the existing scholarship on religious toleration, it identifies a hitherto unexplored relationship between ecclesiastical independence in England and the Atlantic World.

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