Richard Coppin

Richard Coppin

Richard Coppin was a seventeenth century English political and religious writer, and prolific radical pamphleteer and preacher.

Late 1640s to late 1650s

He was an Anglican clergyman, until 1648, [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin | date = 1984 | pages = p. 220 | isbn = 0140137327] or possibly a lay preacher from Berkshire with little formal education. [cite book | last = McDowell | first = Nicolas | title = The English Radical Imagination: Culture, Religion, and Revolution, 1630-1660 | publisher = Oxford University Press, USA | date = 2003 | pages = pp. 18 onwards | isbn = 0199260515] He is known as an associate of Abiezer Coppe, who wrote an introduction to Coppin’s 1649 "Divine Teachings". Christopher Hill [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = The Experience of Defeat | publisher = Puffin | date = 1985 | pages = p. 43 | isbn = 0140552030] considers that Coppe took most of his theology from Coppin.

He was constantly in trouble, well documented in pamphlets, arising from the 1650 Blasphemy Act. [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = A Nation of Change and Novelty: Radical Politics, Religion and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England : 'England That Nation of Change and Novelty' | publisher = Routledge | date = 1991| pages = p. 177 | isbn = 0415048338] The authorities treated him leniently in the period 1651 to 1651. [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin | date = 1984 | pages = p. 208 | isbn = 0140137327]

A debate he had at Burford, Oxfordshire in 1651 was recorded by his counterpart on the side of orthodoxy, John Osborne, vicar of Bampton. [cite book | last = Osborne | first = John | authorlink = John Osborne | title = The world to come, or The mysterie of the resurrection opened: in a discourse at Burford in the county of Oxon, upon Acts 24.15. | publisher = James Moxon | date = 1651] [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = A Nation of Change and Novelty: Radical Politics, Religion and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England : 'England That Nation of Change and Novelty' | publisher = Routledge | date = 1991| pages = p. 182 | isbn = 0415048338]

He was imprisoned in December 1655 as a Ranter,cite web | title = Thomas Kelsey, Major-General, d.c.1680 | date = | url = http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/biog/kelsey.htm | accessdate = ] a term which is now contested in historiography, [cite book | last = Davis | first = J.C. | title = Fear, Myth and History: The Ranters and the Historians | publisher = Cambridge University Press | date = 2002 | | isbn = 0521894190] after a disputation in Rochester Cathedral. Thomas Kelsey, one of Cromwell's major-generals then based at Dover, took a harder line with Coppin than previously, imposing six months in jail. He defended himself, writing from Maidstone Prison a pamphlet "A Blow at the Serpent". Another account was that of Walter Rosewell, pushed out as vicar at Chatham, Kent in 1649, [cite web | title = Parishes Chatham | date = | url = http://193.39.212.223/report.asp?compid=53804 | accessdate = ] in "The serpents subtilty discovered". [cite book | last = Rosewell | first = Walter | title = The serpents subtilty discovered, or a true relation of what passed in the cathedrall church of Rochester, between divers ministers and Richard Coppin : to prevent credulity to the false representation of the said discourse published by the said R. Coppin from Maidstone goale. | publisher = Printed by A.M. for Jos. Cranford, at the Kings Head in St Pauls Church-yard | date = 1656]

Coppin's work provoked Edward Garland, vicar at Hartclip (Hartlip, Kent), to reply in kind in 1657, [cite book | last = Garland | first = Edward | title = An answer to a printed book, falsely intituled, A blow at the serpent : It being truly a blow of the serpent, lately published by one Richard Coppin. | publisher = printed for Philemon Stephens in St. Pauls Church Yeard | date = ] accusing Coppin of heresies. The pamphlet exchange was extended by Coppin's "Michael opposing the dragon" (1659).

Works

*"Divine Teachings" (1649)
*"The Exaltation of All Things in Christ" (1649)
*"Man's Righteousnesse Examined" (1652)
*"Saul Smitten for not Smiting Amalek" (1653)
*"A Man-Child Born" (1654)
*"Truths testimony and a testimony of truths" (1655)
*"A Blow at the Serpent" (1656)
*"Crux Christi" (1657)
*"Michael opposing the dragon" (1659)

Views

He believed in universal salvation, [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = Milton and the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin| date = 1979 | pages = p. 275 | isbn = 0140050663] [Citation | last = Bauckham | first = Richard | author-link = Richard Bauckham | title = Universalism: a historical survey | newspaper = Themelios | pages = 47-54 | year = 1978 | date = September | url = http://www.theologicalstudies.org.uk/article_universalism_bauckham.html] the possibility of return to the state before the Fall of Man, [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = Milton and the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin| date = 1979 | pages = p. 313| isbn = 0140050663] and the equality of women. [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = A Nation of Change and Novelty: Radical Politics, Religion and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England : 'England That Nation of Change and Novelty' | publisher = Routledge | date = 1991| pages = p. 198| isbn = 0415048338] . He treated the Fall and Last Judgment as allegories, [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin | date = 1984 | pages = p. 221 | isbn = 0140137327] and was dismissive of the established church [Hill, World Upside Down, p. 222.] and universities. [cite book | last = Hill | first = Christopher | authorlink = Christopher Hill | title = The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution | publisher = Penguin | date = 1984 | pages = p. 303| isbn = 0140137327]

He is sometimes presented as a ‘moderate’ Ranter, [cite book | last = Vaneigem | first = Raoul| authorlink = Raoul Vaneigem | title = La Resistance au Christianisme: Les heresies des origines au XVIIIe siecle (The Resistance to Christianity: The Heresies at the Origins of the 18th Century) | publisher = Editions Artheme Fayard | date = 1993 | pages = | isbn = 2213030405] or philosopher of Ranterism. [cite book | last = Freidman | first = Jerome | title = Blasphemy, Immorality, and Anarchy: The Ranters and the English Revolution | publisher = Ohio University Press | date = 1987 | pages = Chapter 2 | isbn = 0821408615] Christopher Hill shaded his opinion to ‘near-Ranter’.

Notes and References


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