Minds Indifferent: Milton, Lord Brooke, and the Value of Adiaphora on the Eve of the English Civil War

Caldwell, Melissa M.
April 2007
Seventeenth Century;Spring2007, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p97
Academic Journal
Between 1638 and 1642, writers engaged in religious debate centering on Episcopacy weighed the value of peace – whether it be the peace of religious toleration or forced conformity – against the value of an active pursuit of religious truth. Within this debate, adiaphora , or things indifferent to salvation, emerged as an undefined moral category which both offered and limited religious liberty. Though once intended to ease the “intolerable burdens” of religion, by 1642 adiaphora had become burdensome to the individual conscience. Rising pamphleteer John Milton and eminent parliamentarian Robert Greville, Lord Brooke defined the role of the active conscience against adiaphora as they steered between the moral absolutism and moral relativism that it could generate. The struggle for jurisdiction over things indifferent highlighted the extent to which the human mind was responsible for creating and codifying the language and value of moral law.


Related Articles

  • THEOLOGICALLY UNITED AND DIVIDED: THE POLITICAL COVENANTALISM OF SAMUEL RUTHERFORD AND JOHN MILTON. Raath, Andries; De Freitas, Shaun // Westminster Theological Journal;Fall2005, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p301 

    The article examines the theoretical commonality between the political covenantalism of theologians Samuel Rutherford and John Milton. One of the elements of the Zurich concept of the covenant is that it expresses God's universality and his involvement in human affairs. Rutherford supported a...

  • Milton's Arminianism and the authorship of De doctrina Christiana. Fallon, Stephen M. // Texas Studies in Literature & Language;Summer99, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p103 

    Asserts that the treatise `De doctrina Christiana' is Arminian and was written by theologian John Milton. Milton's agreement with the Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius on predestination and free will; Theological debate between the Calvinist tenets and Arminians about free will and...

  • Occasional Conformity and the Representation of Dissent: Hypocrisy, Sincerity, Moderation and Zeal. Knights, Mark // Parliamentary History (Edinburgh University Press);Mar2005, Vol. 24 Issue 1, p41 

    Explores the polemical debate about the role of dissent after the passage of the Toleration Act of 1689 in England. Aid of the act in granting protestant nonconformists freedom of worship; Consideration of representations of dissent as they became apparent in the controversies surrounding the...

  • Restoration Lost: Milton's Epic Pre-emption. Daniel, Clay // Appositions: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & ;2013, Vol. 6, p19 

    The article focuses on the aspects of the poem "Paradise Lost," by John Milton. It states that the poem did not have to respond to monarchical restoration since Milton expects it in his work. It argues that Milton's attested political skepticism has not been realized, such as his warning against...

  • Milton and the Poetics of Freedom. Mulryan, John // Cithara;Nov2014, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p60 

    No abstract available.

  • Thoughts on Censorship and the Freedom of Thinking in Early Modern Age. MESTER, Béla // Philobiblon: Transylvanian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research;2003, Vol. 8-9, p365 

    The purpose of this article is to map the possibilities of free individual thinking (and hence the freedom of reading) in what the author calls a typographic society; that is, a society in which every reader has the right to produce and interpret texts, and the power over the minds and...

  • Civil Liberty and Philosophic Liberty in John Milton's Areopagitica. Dowling, Paul M. // Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy;Summer2006, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p281 

    The article presents a literary criticism of John Milton's freedom of speech in "Areopagitica." According to the author, Milton is trying to solve the problem of free speech and the solution assumes government to censor citizens right to express themselves. The title defends the liberty of...

  • Rewriting Cromwell: Milton, Marvell, and Negative Liberty in the English Revolution. Martin, Catherine Gimelli // Clio;Summer2007, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p307 

    The article discusses an assessment on the literary gap between poet-politicians John Milton and Andrew Marvell during the English Revolution. It is inferred that earlier generations of critics resolved this problem repeatedly by ascribing it to differences of temperament rather than conviction....

  • Freedom of Speech: Do We Have to Dance with Tyranny? Response to John Durham Peters' Courting the Abyss. Larson, Suzanne; Howell, John // Free Speech Yearbook;2009/2010, Vol. 44, p165 

    The article focuses on the concept of tyranny and the violation of the freedom of expression as discussed in the book "Courting the Abyss," by John Durham Peters. It states that the book is an attempt to rebuild the liberal tradition by citing various authorities such as John Milton, John Locke...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics