Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Freethinker
(1,831 words)

1. 18th-century origin

The term freethinker first appeared around 1700 in the nascent civil philosophy of religion (Religion, philosophy of) in England. In 1697 the Irish scholar William Molyneux wrote in a letter to John Locke that the pamphleteer John Toland, famous for his book Christianity Not Mysterious (1695), was a “candid freethinker” [2. 150]. Anthony Collins, an acquaintance of Locke and a friend of T…

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Voigt-Goy, Christopher, “Freethinker”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 24 July 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_019382>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126



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