Nathaniel Lardner

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Nathaniel Lardner

Nathaniel Lardner (6 June 1684 – 24 July 1768) was an English theologian.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.



Lardner was born at Hawkhurst, Kent in 1684. He was the elder son of Richard Lardner (1653–1740), an independent minister, and of a daughter of Nathaniel Collyer or Collier, a Southwark tradesman. His sister Elizabeth married Daniel Neal, who studied with Lardner in Utrecht.

Hawkhurst village and civil parish in the borough of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England

Hawkhurst is a large affluent village and civil parish in the borough of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England. The village is located close to the border with East Sussex, around 12 miles (19 km) south-east of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Daniel Neal British historian

Daniel Neal was an English historian.

After studying for the Presbyterian ministry in London, and also at Utrecht and Leiden, he took license as a preacher in 1709, but was not successful. In 1713 he entered the family of Lady Treby, widow of Sir George Treby, as tutor and domestic chaplain, where he remained until 1721. In 1724 he was appointed to deliver the Tuesday evening lecture in the Presbyterian chapel, Old Jewry, London, and in 1729 he became assistant minister to the Presbyterian congregation in Crutched Friars. He was given the degree of D.D. by Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1743. He died at Hawkhurst on 24 July 1768. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Leiden City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants. The Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, and in the larger Leiden urban area also Teylingen, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.

George Treby (judge) British judge and politician

Sir George Treby JP (1643–1700), of Plympton, Devon, and of Fleet Street in the City of London, was Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and six times Member of Parliament for the Rotten Borough of Plympton Erle, Devon, largely controlled by him and his descendants until abolished by the Great Reform Act of 1832.


An anonymous volume of Memoirs appeared in 1769; and a life by Andrew Kippis is prefixed to the edition of the Works of Lardner, first published in 1788. The full title of his principal worka work which, though now out of date, entitles its author to be regarded as the founder of modern critical research in the field of early Christian literatureis The Credibility of the Gospel History; or the Principal Facts of the New Testament confirmed by Passages of Ancient Authors, who were contemporary with our Saviour or his Apostles, or lived near their time. Part 1, in 2 octavo volumes, appeared in 1727; the publication of part 2, in 12 octavo volumes, began in 1733 and ended in 1755. In 1730 there was a second edition of part 1, and the Additions and Alterations were also published separately. A Supplement, otherwise entitled A History of the Apostles and Evangelists, Writers of the New Testament, was added in 3 volumes (1756–1757), and reprinted in 1760. [1]

Andrew Kippis British minister

Andrew Kippis was an English nonconformist clergyman and biographer.

Other works by Lardner are A Large Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies to the Truth of the Christian Revelation, with Notes and Observations (4 volumes, quarto, 1764–1767); The History of the Heretics of the two first Centuries after Christ, published posthumously in 1780; and a considerable number of occasional sermons. [1]


Lardner made a case against subordinationism of Samuel Clarke in which the eternal Logos unites with a human body in the man Jesus, opposed to the Trinitarian view. Lardner went further to argue that the New Testament does not teach that Jesus or any element within him pre-existed Mary's pregnancy. According to Lardner the Logos of John 1, was to be understood as a divine attribute, which metaphorically “became flesh” in the man Jesus, and other traditional pre-existence proof texts are interpreted in ways consistent with Christ's not existing before his conception. Lardner analyzes the use of “spirit” in the Bible and concludes that it refers to God, or to various of God's properties, actions, or gifts. [2] [3] This view was essentially Socinian. [1]

Subordinationism is a belief that began within early Christianity that asserts that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to God the Father in nature and being. Various forms of subordinationism were believed or condemned until the mid-4th century, when the debate was decided against subordinationism as an element of the Arian controversy. In 381, after many decades of formulating the doctrine of the Trinity, the First Council of Constantinople condemned Arianism.

Samuel Clarke English philosopher and clergyman

Samuel Clarke was an English philosopher and Anglican clergyman. He is considered the major British figure in philosophy between John Locke and George Berkeley.

<i>Logos</i> Term in Western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion

Logos is a term in Western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion derived from a Greek word variously meaning "ground", "plea", "opinion", "expectation", "word", "speech", "account", "reason", "proportion", and "discourse". It became a technical term in Western philosophy beginning with Heraclitus, who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.


He was in close relations with Thomas Secker, exchanged letters with Edward Waddington, and had a large literary correspondence with continental scholars, and with the ministers of New England. Among his English dissenting correspondents were John Brekell, Samuel Chandler, Philip Doddridge, and Henry Miles. He corresponded also with Thomas Morgan the Welsh deist and moral philosopher, of very different views but who found Lardner impartial. [4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Chisholm 1911.
  2. Lardner 1793 a-b
  3. Tuggy, D. in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2009
  4. Gordon 1892.

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