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John Toland and the Naturalization of the Jews
Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr
Vol. 14 (1999), pp. 37-48
Published by: Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30071409
Page Count: 12
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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.
Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr © 1999 Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society