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Tindal, Matthew

Tindal, Matthew (1655–1733). One of the leading deists of the early 18th cent., Tindal came from Devon and attended Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1678 he obtained a fellowship at All Souls. After a brief flirtation with catholicism during the reign of James II, he moved into a low-church Erastian position and his book The Rights of the Christian Church Asserted (1706) scandalized high churchmen. Its sequel A Defence of the Rights of the Christian Church (1709) was burned by order of the House of Commons in 1710. His most celebrated work came out in 1730. In Christianity as Old as Creation, Tindal argued the case for natural religion. Though frequently accused of free thinking, he retained his fellowship at All Souls until his death.

J. A. Cannon

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Tindal, Matthew

Matthew Tindal (tĬn´dəl), c.1655–1733, English deist. For a short time in the reign of James II he was a Roman Catholic, but in 1688 he returned to the Church of England. The first of his published writings to excite attention was The Rights of the Christian Church Asserted (1706), a defense of Erastianism; it was proscribed by Parliament. His Defence of the Rights of the Christian Church (1709) reiterated his position and was similarly condemned. Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), in which he set forth his rationalistic views, has been called the bible of deism.

See L. Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (3d ed. 1902).

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