George Southcombe, "The Culture of Dissent in Restoration England: The Wonders of the Lord" (Royal Historical Society, 2019)


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After over a decade of king-less government, civil war, and political and religious revolution, the restoration of the Stuart monarchy created a complex situation for those religious dissenters who had enjoyed a brief period of political freedom outside the English church. In The Culture of Dissent in Restoration England: 'The Wonders of the Lord' (Royal Historical Society, 2019) George Southcombe employs a series of case studies to explore the religious and print cultures of religious nonconformity. The Presbyterian poet and satirist Robert Wild shows the paradox of those "moderate puritans" who had helped restore the monarchy which led to their own social exclusion. The General Baptist Thomas Grantham helps us to learn about the possibilities and limits of friendship between dissenters and establishment clergy. The Quaker John Whitehead provides a vignette into the development of Quaker theology in the Restoration. And the Fifth Monarchist Vavasor Powell and Particular Baptist Benjamin Keach show the popularity of Calvinism and apocalyptic hermeneutics all the way through the seventeenth century. Southcombe's study explores the way dissenters used print to create a richly variegated culture that contributed to the development of Restoration political parties and religious denominations.

Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.

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