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LATITUDINARIANS were members of the Church of England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who subscribed to a school of thought that emphasized the fundamental principles of the Christian religion rather than any specific doctrinal position. In early America, latitudinarianism influenced the "catholick Congregationalists," who broke with more traditional Puritans in the early eighteenth century and emphasized general Christian principles rather than specific Calvinist doctrine. Since that time, latitudinarians have included religious leaders and groups who have placed less emphasis on the interpretation of a creed and have been liberal in their tolerance of diverse religious perspectives and viewpoints.


Corrigan, John. The Prism of Piety: Catholick Congregational Clergy at the Beginning of the Enlightenment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

May, Henry F. The Enlightenment in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.


William W.Sweet

See alsoChurch of England in the Colonies ; Congregationalism ; Episcopalianism .