Panitza Library

New Faculty Publications: Prof. Diego Lucci

October 22, 2021

Panitza Library is pleased to announce three new publications by prof. Diego Lucci

Hessayon, A., & Lucci, D. (2021). The supposed burning of the Racovian catechism in 1614: A historiographical myth exposed. History. doi:10.1111/1468-229X.13197

Abstract from authors: The Racovian catechism is a famous summary treatise of Socinian thought. It was written in the early seventeenth century by several members of the Minor Reformed Church of Poland. It is a common misconception that, upon reading the Latin edition of the Racovian catechism, which was dedicated to him, King James VI & I consigned it to the flames in 1614. Indeed, a comprehensive list of scholars who have repeated this mistake would take up too much space. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is first and foremost to demonstrate that the Racovian catechism was not burnt in England in 1614. This historiographical myth originated and was transmitted because of a series of misunderstandings occurring since the 1670s, whereas not one primary source testifies to the burning of the catechism in England during James's reign. In the process, we will provide essential context, examining relevant developments not only in the British Isles, but also in the Dutch Republic and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Moreover, we will argue that there is no evidence to support the claim that an edition of the Racovian catechism was secretly printed in England shortly after the supposed burning of 1614, although some subsequent editions of the catechism bore a false imprint and had a connected publishing history. Finally, we will explain how these erroneous assumptions entered the historical record together with their subsequent transmission. Our conclusion is that the early history of anti-Trinitarianism and Socinianism in England must be rewritten. 

Lucci, D. (2021). The biblical roots of Locke's theory of personal identityZygon, 56(1), 168-187.

Abstract: Locke's consciousness-based theory of personal identity resulted not only from his agnosticism on substance, but also from his biblical theology. This theory was intended to complement and sustain Locke's moral and theological commitments to a system of otherworldly rewards and sanctions as revealed in Scripture. Moreover, he inferred mortalist ideas from the Bible, rejecting the resurrection of the same body and maintaining that the soul dies at physical death and will be resurrected by divine miracle. Accordingly, personal identity is neither in the soul, nor in the body, nor in a union of soul and body. To Locke, personal identity is in consciousness, which, extending “backwards to any past Action or Thought,” enables the self, both in this life and upon resurrection for the Last Judgment, to recognize that “it is the same self now it was then; and ‘tis by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that Action was done” (Essay II.xxvii.9). 

Lucci, D. (2021). Separating politics from institutional religion: The significance of John Locke’s theory of toleration. Dialogue and Universalism, 31(2), 67-87.

Abstract: Nowadays, more than three centuries after John Locke’s affirmation of the separation between state and church, confessional systems of government are still widespread and, even in secular liberal democracies, politics and religion often intermingle. As a result, some ecclesiastical institutions play a significant role in political affairs, while minority groups and individuals having alternative worldviews, values, and lifestyles are frequently discriminated against. Locke’s theory of religious toleration undeniably has some shortcomings, such as the exclusion of Roman Catholics and atheists from toleration and an emphasis on organized religion in A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689). However, Locke’s theory of toleration, which presents a Christian’s defense of the civil rights of those who have different religious opinions, still provides powerful arguments for the oft-neglected separation of politics from institutional religion, thereby urging us to leave theological dogmas and ecclesiastical authorities out of political life.

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