Toleration in the Early Enlightenment

Monday, 5 March 2012, 4:30pm - 6:00pm, IWM library

Series “Colloquia on Secularism”

The paper challenges the widespread thesis that the modern idea of toleration developed merely from a process of secularization, devoid of religious attitudes, views and concepts. By focusing particularly on Spinoza and Locke, the paper demonstrates that the most prominent theories of toleration in the Early Enlightenment originated within a theological framework. In this respect, the paper also concentrates on the two philosophers’ debt towards the Erastian tradition and their influence on Enlightenment thinkers such as Bayle and the English deists, whose works were characterized by a serious theological dimension. In conclusion, the paper aims at proving that the modern idea of toleration, which is crucial to secular societies, originated in an intellectual and cultural context characterized by an essentially religious infrastructure.


Diego Lucci is Associate Professor of Philosophy, American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad.