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Brave CommunityThe Digger Movement in the English Revolution$
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John Gurney

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061028

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061028.001.0001

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Winstanley: the early writings

Winstanley: the early writings

(p.90) Chapter 4 Winstanley: the early writings
Brave Community

John Gurney

Manchester University Press

This chapter discusses Winstanley's early writings and the development of his religious ideas. Winstanley's four earliest pamphlets were produced in a remarkably short space of time, but each had its own distinct character. In these early writings Winstanley drew on recognisable traditions of religious radicalism to advance arguments of great originality. He did so moreover with a clarity and directness that set these tracts apart from many of the other radical spiritualist and perfectionist writings that were published in the later 1640s. Together these works bore witness to the rapid development of Winstanley's ideas, and to the increasing confidence with which he was able to give expression to them. His early writings challenged conventional understandings of God, the Fall and salvation, but also prefigured the arguments used later to advance the Diggers.

Keywords:   religious radicalism, pamphlets, spiritualist writings, perfectionist writings, radical spiritualist

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