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Religious Conscience and Political Reform in the English Revolution

In partnership with the University of Sheffield - this talk forms part of our series "God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics".

Religious Conscience and Political Reform in the English Revolution (1640-1660)
Michael Braddick (Department of History, University of Sheffield)

The lecture will focus in particular on the political life of John Lilburne (1615-1657), concentrating on how his religious conscience led him to propose radical secular reform, including that the House of Commons should be the sovereign power and made fully representative of the will of the people through universal manhood suffrage and the equal distribution of parliamentary representation. These were remarkable ideas for seventeenth-century Europe and, for example, anticipated by two hundred years some of the central demands of the Chartists. Lilburne was far from unusual in feeling an intense and religiously-inspired desire for political change, but was very unusual in deriving wholly secular political demands from his religious conscience. His example offers a way to understand how seventeenth-century Christians viewed the relationship between religious conscience and their civic obligations, but also on how understandings of that relationship have changed over time.

All are welcome, and there is no need to register attendance.

The Cathedral Coffee Shop will open from 6.30pm, serving tea, coffee, wine and light refreshments. Talks and discussion will taken place between 7:30pm and 9pm.

God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics

This series of talks considers the relation between religious thinking and traditions on the one hand, and ethics on the other. While most ethical traditions have a religious background, the increasing secularization of modern society has put this connection in question. These talks will consider how far ethical issues can be illuminated by coming at them through a religious context, and vice versa, as well as the history of the interconnection.