More than fifty years ago, the Cambridge political scientist John Dunn shook the academic world by the collar when he argued—contrary to the secular account of the origins of liberal democracy—that the intellectual father of the liberal project was an essentially Christian thinker. A chief complaint in his Political Thought of John Locke (1969) was the absence of any serious treatment of the relationship of Locke’s political philosophy to his religious beliefs. “It is an astonishing lacuna,” he wrote.

Dunn’s work, an exploration of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) in its historical context, did much to fill it. “Locke saw the rationality of human existence, a rationality which he spent so much of his life in attempting to vindicate, as dependent upon the truths of religion,”...


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