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John Toland and the Naturalization of the Jews

Pierre Lurbe
Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr
Vol. 14 (1999), pp. 37-48
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30071409
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
John Toland and the Naturalization of the Jews
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Abstract

In 1714, the Irish philosopher John Toland published a short pamphlet entitled Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews, which despite its comparative obscurity is a seminal text in the history of toleration. While Edward Coke had defined the Jews as 'perpetual enemies' in the early seventeenth century, Toland argued that the Jews were 'not otherwise to be regarded, than under the common circumstances of human nature'. This assertion has three major implications: it strikes at the root of all the prejudices that prevailed against the Jews; it makes it possible to interpret Jewish history in an entirely secular light; and it paves the way for a positive concept of toleration, in which the granting of full civil rights replaces the bestowal of privileges.

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