Toland, John

▪ British author
born Nov. 30, 1670, County Donegal, Ire.
died March 11, 1722, Putney, near London, Eng.

      controversial Irish-born British freethinker whose rationalist philosophy forced church historians to seriously consider questions concerning the biblical canon.

      Raised a Roman Catholic, Toland converted to Anglicanism before the age of 20 and studied at the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leiden, and Oxford between 1687 and 1695. In 1696 he published his celebrated Christianity Not Mysterious, in which he tried to show that not all biblical doctrines require faith in order to be understood but are, rather, perfectly intelligible to human reason unaided by divine revelation. The book caused a public uproar, and proceedings were brought against him in Middlesex. Fleeing to Dublin, he learned that the Irish Parliament had condemned his book and ordered his arrest, whereupon he returned to England.

      Almost immediately, Toland wrote his Life of Milton (1698), which incurred further wrath for a passage in it that appeared to question the authenticity of the New Testament. This was followed the next year by Amyntor, or a Defence of Milton's Life, in which Toland sought to defend himself by furnishing a catalog of works long-excluded from the biblical canon as apocryphal writings.

      In Origines Judaicae (1709; “Origins of the Jews”), Toland claimed that the Jewish people were of Egyptian origin. During his last years, spent primarily in political pamphleteering in England, he wrote Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews (1713) and Nazarenus (1718), in which he discussed the role of the Ebionite sect in early Christianity. Tetradymus (1720) included an essay offering natural explanations for Old Testament miracles, and in Pantheisticon (1720) he proposed a new liturgy that incorporated pagan texts.

      Toland's books stimulated contemporary discussion of the New Testament, and his search for a rationalistic religion resulted in Christianity Not Mysterious, which remains a classic exposition of deism.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • TOLAND, JOHN° — (1670–1722), Irish born deist, active in the theological and political controversies in England at the beginning of the 18th century. Toland was born in County Donegal, supposedly the illegitimate son of a Roman Catholic priest. At the age of 16… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Toland, John — (1670–1722)    Theologian.    Toland was born in Ireland of Roman Catholic parents, but he converted to Protestantism at the age of sixteen. He was educated in Glasgow and Leyden. His first book, Christianity not Mysterious, in which he argued… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • TOLAND, JOHN —    political and deistical writer, born in Derry, of Catholic parents; abandoned the Catholic faith; studied at Leyden and Oxford; his first work, Christianity not Mysterious, which created a great stir, and was burned in Ireland by the common… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • TOLAND, John — (1670 1722)    Irish writer whose book Christianity Not Mysterious (1696) is generally regarded as the classic statement of DEISM. He coined the term PANTHEISM to describe SPINOZA S view that GOD and can be identified with NATURE …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Toland, John — (1670? 1722)    Deistical writer, b. in Ireland of Roman Catholic parentage, completed his education at Glasgow, Edin., and Leyden. Very early in life he had become a Protestant, and at Leyden he studied theology with the view of becoming a… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Toland, John Willard — ▪ 2005       American historian (b. June 29, 1912, La Crosse, Wis. d. Jan. 4, 2004, Danbury, Conn.), wrote several best selling historical books about World War II. After having served in the Army Air Corps during that war, Toland became a… …   Universalium

  • John Toland (Philosoph) — John Toland (* 30. November 1670 in Inishowen, Irland; † 11. März 1722 in Putney bei London) war ein irischer Freidenker der Aufklärung. Als Sohn katholischer Eltern konvertierte Toland 1687 zum Protestantismus. Er studierte in Glasgow, Edinburgh …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Toland — John Toland. John Toland (Inishowen, Irlanda, 30 de noviembre de 1670 Londres, 11 de marzo de 1722) fue un filósofo racionalista y librepensador. Educado en las universidades de Glasgow, Edimburgo, Leiden y Oxfo …   Wikipedia Español

  • John toland (libre-penseur) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir John Toland. John Toland (30 novembre 1670 11 mars 1722) fut un philosophe irlandais. Il fut la première personne à être qualifiée de libre penseur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John toland (historien) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir John Toland. John Toland (1912 2004) était un historien américain. Il est connu pour un des tout premiers ouvrages sur la guerre du Pacifique et pour sa biographie d Adolf Hitler. Publications (en)Adolf… …   Wikipédia en Français

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