This book seeks to bring coherence to two of the most studied periods in British history, Caroline non-conformity (pre-1640) and the Puritan revolution (post-1642). It does so by focusing on the pivotal years of 1638-44 where debates around non-conformity within the Church of England morphed into a revolution between Parliament and its king. Parliament knew that one of the most destabilizing elements of the body politic was an inchoate national church, where heterodoxy presented as much of a threat as prelacy. Saddled with the responsibility of re-defining England's church, Parliament called its Westminster assembly of divines to debate and define the content and boundaries of that new church. Typically this period has been studied as either an ecclesiastical power struggle between Presbyterians and independents, or as the harbinger of modern religious toleration. This book challenges those assumptions and provides and entirely new framework for understanding one of the most important moments in British history.
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Hunter Powell has his PhD in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge and is an independent scholar
"This is an excellent book that will be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the religious and. more importantly, the ecclesiological debates that roiled the English Puritan clergy in the 1640s." - Michael Finlayson, The American Historical Review, 2016
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