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Matthew Tindal

c.1656-1733. Deist writer. Son of a country clergyman, he was educated at Oxford and became a fellow of All Souls in 1678, a position he retained to the end of his life. He was subsequently a doctor of law. His High Church principles led him briefly to join the Roman Church under James II, but soon discerning “the absurdities of Popery,” he returned to the Church of England. He began to advocate Erastian principles, first arousing a storm of opposition with The Rights of the Christian Church asserted against the Romish and all other Priests who claim an Independent Power over it (1706). The House of Commons had it burned by the common hangman in 1710. Christianity as old as the Creation (1730), hailed as “the Deists' Bible,” was his mature and constructive attempt to show that true revealed religion is simply a republication of the religion of nature. It was answered by more than a hundred writers, but its translation into German extended Deistic influences to the Continent.