Theological Aspects of Winstanley's Writings

Andrew Bradstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

Abstract

By engaging directly with Winstanley’s writings this essay explores the main contours of the Diggers’ theology, insofar as a distinctly “theological” dimension to his thinking can be discerned. A central belief for Winstanley was that, as in biblical times, God still speaks to ordinary men and women. Men and women may also experience the “indwelling” of God’s Spirit, once the selfish desires of the flesh, which struggle for power within them, have been overcome by Christ. This tension between “flesh” and “Spirit” is also at work within society, Winstanley argued, but will be resolved as people throw off the bondage to which the present system subjects them and reclaim the freedom they knew before the Fall. The practice of buying and selling the land, something originally given by the Creator as a “common treasury” for all to enjoy, lies at the root of the present bondage. Winstanley’s schema leads him to offer highly creative interpretations of Christian doctrines such as the Fall, and Resurrection and Second Coming of Christ; and his preferred name for God, “Reason,” further marks his theology out as different from that of the beneficed clergy who, he argued, had much to gain in material terms from espousing the views they did. The chapter reflects upon Winstanley’s millenarianism, his employment of apocalyptic imagery from Scripture, and his emphasis on the importance of action – on reclaiming the common land by digging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
JournalProse Studies
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2014

Keywords

  • Gerrard Winstanley
  • Diggers
  • God
  • spirit of reason
  • Christ
  • freedom
  • land
  • righteousness

Cite this

Bradstock, Andrew. / Theological Aspects of Winstanley's Writings. 2014 ; Vol. 36, No. 1. pp. 32-42.
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Theological Aspects of Winstanley's Writings. / Bradstock, Andrew.

Vol. 36, No. 1, 28.05.2014, p. 32-42.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

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