The Acts of the Witnesses: The Autobiography of Lodowick Muggleton and Other Early Muggletonian Writings

The Acts of the Witnesses: The Autobiography of Lodowick Muggleton and Other Early Muggletonian Writings

The Acts of the Witnesses: The Autobiography of Lodowick Muggleton and Other Early Muggletonian Writings

The Acts of the Witnesses: The Autobiography of Lodowick Muggleton and Other Early Muggletonian Writings

Synopsis

This book presents writings produced by the Muggletonians---an unusual seventeenth-century English sect founded in 1652 by John Reeve and Lodowick Muggleton. The volume draws on documents from a recently discovered Muggleton archive and rare seventeenth-century tracts. Among those included are Muggleton's autobiography, excerpts from works co-written by Muggleton and Reeve, letters, songs (including ones composed to celebrate Muggleton's release from prison), and miscellany.

Excerpt

The Acts of the Witnesses, our short-title and the title of Muggleton's autobiography, refers to the prophetic efforts of John Reeve and Lodowick Muggleton, the central figures of a remarkable sect that arose in midseventeenth-century England and that eventually took the latter's name. of the radical religious movements born in those tumultuous middle decades, only Quakers and Muggletonians survived much beyond that period, but not until the 1980s was it generally known in scholarly circles that Muggletonianism had continued on into the late twentieth century. the story of the identification of Philip Noakes of Matfield, Kent, as the last Muggletonian and the discovery of the archive of Muggletonian materials later acquired from him by the British Library shortly before his death in 1979 is told in Christopher Hill, Barry Reay, and William Lamont's collection of essays, The World of the Muggletonians (London: Temple Smith, 1983) and in E. P. Thompson's Witness against the Beast (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). Although perhaps not yet in its final arrangement, the Muggletonian Archive comprises Additional Manuscripts 60168–60256: eightynine volumes of letters, treatises, verses, accounts, and printed works. This treasury of sources awaits the further examination of enterprising scholars, for although the above writers have provided fine introductions to the sect, much more remains to be done, ranging from a general history of the movement (especially the post-seventeenth-century period) to detailed analyses of specific beliefs and practices with their contextual connections. Such studies . . .

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