Date: December 2005
Creator: Parnell, John Robert
Description: This study examines the interaction between religious and national affiliations within a Dissenting denomination. Linda Colley and Jonathan Clark argue that religion provided the unifying foundation of national identity. Colley portrays a Protestant British identity defined in opposition to Catholic France. Clark favors an English identity, based upon an Anglican intellectual hegemony, against which only the heterodox could effectively offer criticism. Studying the Baptists helps test those two approaches. Although Methodists and Baptists shared evangelical concerns, the Methodists remained within the Church of England. Though Baptists often held political views similar to the Unitarians, they retained their orthodoxy. Thus, the Baptists present an opportunity to explore the position of orthodox Dissenters within the nation. The Baptists separated their religious and national identities. An individual could be both a Christian and a Briton, but one attachment did not imply the other. If the two conflicted, religion took precedent. An examination of individual ministers, specifically William Winterbotham, Robert Hall, Mark Wilks, Joseph Kinghorn, and David Kinghorn, reveals a range of Baptist views from harsh criticism of to support for the government. It also shows Baptist disagreement on whether faith should encourage political involvement and on the value of the French Revolution. Baptists ...
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