The Puritans on Independence: The First Examination, Defence, and Second Examination

Polly Ha (Editor), Jonathan Moore (Editor), Edda Frankot (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportScholarly edition


The Puritans on Independence sheds light on the rise of new claims by puritans to freedom as 'independence' several decades earlier than modern scholarship has assumed. This critical edition of long-lost English manuscripts provides access to a set of treatises which are the most significant hitherto unpublished texts for understanding puritan debate over this concept of liberty. Although once mis-catalogued as anti-separatist polemic, they in fact document the presbyterians' clandestine 'First Examination' of Henry Jacob's argument for 'independent' liberty and ecclesiology. It includes Jacob's 'Defence' of his early congregational experiment in response to the 'First Examination'. The volume concludes with the presbyterians' 'Second Examination' of Jacob's 'Defence' in 1620, written several years after the erection of Jacob's independent church in Southwark.

This work provides unprecedented insight into divisions among the godly in England before the public contentions over church government in the Westminster Assembly during the mid-seventeenth century. The introductory chapter traces the development of radical notions of liberty among puritans over the first half of the seventeenth century through to the English Revolution. All this had a lasting impact well beyond the British Isles and the early modern period.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages448
ISBN (Print)9780199664825
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2017

Cite this