We enter the early modern age with an expert opinion featuring Teresa Bejan, associate professor at Oriel College, Oxford University and author of “Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration.” In this episode, Jacob and Teresa will discuss political thought on tolerance and the limits of religious speech in early modern England and colonial America. The episode investigates the writings of intellectual rock stars John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke and the less famous but hugely relevant Roger Williams.
Among the topics discussed are:
- Milton’s “Areopagitica”
- Early colonial religious “hate speech” laws
- Why Hobbes found “the mere fact of disagreement offensive”
- The origin, development, and limits of Lockean tolerance
- Williams’s combination of fundamentalist evangelical intolerance and free speech fundamentalism
- Why political theory and practice of the 17th century is relevant to modern day controversies on free speech
Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College. She is the author of Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration.