Mester Béla

Key words:
Locke, Unitarianism, history, Transylvania, legislation, religion, theology, original sin, Gyorgy Enyedy, modernity
Fellow of the Institute for Philosophical Research of the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
Budapest, Hungary

The Connection between the Unitarian
Thought and Early Modern Political Philosophy


Abstract: The aim of my paper is to show links and parallels between Locke's concept of the state of nature and the Unitarian (Socinian) denial of original sin. At first I will give an overview of the Unitarian history and thought, then I will logically and philologically demonstrate a parallelism of Locke's hidden anthropology and the Unitarian doctrine on human being, with data of Locke's Unitarian readings, especially writings of a Transylvanian theologian in the late 16th century, György Enyedi.

In my study I try to demonstrate the connection between some of the central elements in the Unitarian teaching and some of the basic tenets of early modern political philosophy. It refers not really to influences, which can be readily proven from a philological perspective (for the influence of the Unitarian readings by some authors upon their political philosophy writings is unquestionable) but rather to the regular pattern in the attempts to solve them or at least some parallelism. I shall focus upon the teaching about the original sin,

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present in every Christian denomination and rejected by Unitarianism, which I will compare with similar elements identifiable in Locke's version of the early modern contract theory model. (The contract theories of the 17th century influence all of the theological debates of the epoch. In the course of the argument that the change from the natural to the social condition by a shift in goals or some other causes, there arises the Augustinian issue of the need for an earthly authority given man's sinful and wretched nature.) Locke's Unitarian readings were prompted by a philological interest but I wish to emphasize Locke's own theological quest for Unitarianism, rather than merely document the influences, my task being to demonstrate the intellectual parallelisms. Throughout my exposition one shall see that Locke's contract theory conception carefully refuting the original sin was not independent from how he viewed the nature of the political community in general. I set out to reconstruct this community model based on the Letters on Religious Toleration and I would like to show that in size, at least, it coincides with particular Unitarian ideas even while it does not stray from the Unitarians' notion of religious freedom in conception either.

1. Of the History of the Unitarian Church and Some of Its Teachings

During the patristic period, within the debates on the Holy Trinity one can find certain perspectives and arguments that are in some respect connected with the Unitarian teachings, even though the theological tradition of the present day Unitarian churches goes back directly to the Age of Reformation. At first, Miguel Servet, the Spanish theologian later executed under Calvin in Geneva, worked out the Unitarian theology in his The Flaws of the Holy Trinity issued in 1531.1 Next, during the troubled decades of the Reformation, Trinity-rejecting thinkers emerged as individual voices all across Europe, especially in such regions as Germany, England, and Italy, or gathered into small communities2 in the Netherlands, only to be prohibited and banned by both the Catholics and the prevailing Protestants. In the 16th and 17th centuries their situation was rather special in Poland and Lithuania, until their school and printing shop was confiscated in 1638. The same was true for Transylvania and the Hungarian territories under Turkish occupation. (These territories registered numerous communities especially in southern Transdanubia, in central Baranya mostly, and in Pécs where they formed the majority just as in Kolozsvár.3 They also ran a school until the forced re-conversion to Catholicism of the city-dwellers under the Habsburgs. The recording of Unitarians living under the Ottoman rule was particularly important for the whole denomination since they were not under the earthly rule of the Transylvanian prince, so it was almost impossible to force them to compromise. Also, the Unitarian intelligentsia fled from Transylvania to the occupied territories and consequently the Unitarian works written in Transylvania were printed there and then smuggled back.4 The Ottoman rulers were indifferent to the matter

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of religion where it concerned the subject population but within the more general struggle against idolatry of the reformed movement, particularly of the Unitarian severe monotheism, the Unitarians, more than any other denomination, could count on more understanding than any other. Unitarianism spread to Transylvania, Hungary and Poland especially through the Italian humanist thinkers featuring such leading figures as count Giorgio Biandrata (Blandrata), Queen Isabella's court physician, and the Sozzini (Latin Socinus) brothers, Lelio and Fausto, whose name they lent to their followers called Socinians. Unitarianism did not emerge in Central Europe as it is today, but inspired by the Western tradition, it evolved independently in the Polish-Lithuanian and Transylvanian intellectual debate workshops where the locals' bold ideas often defeated the Italian masters' designs. Present day Unitarianism is inspired by the works of Ferenc Dávid and his disciples rather than by Biandrata's or the Socinus bothers'. In Poland and in Lithuania Unitarianism from the beginning to prohibition was deemed the religion of the educated humanists; their center, the school and printing shop of Raków 5 was considered the citadel of the Polish and Lithuanian humanist education. The first internationally recognized standardized summary of the Unitarian belief, the Catechism of Raków was compiled here. From among the Polish and Lithuanian Unitarian authors Grzegorz Pawel (Gregorius Paulus), Ferenc David's colleague in Wittenberg, was the most influential on the Polish-Lithuanian and European thought,
and was regarded by later generations as the father of the Polish-Lithuanian Unitarianism.

The spreading of Unitarianism in Transylvania was facilitated by the fact that its early Italian representatives had been educated in the same Italian Renaissance vein as the Transylvanian upper class. (By the second half of the 16th century, practically all of the high- powered government officials had studied in Padua). The early Reformation movement kept close contact with the humanist intelligentsia whose knowledge was necessary in the ever more important Bible-philology but later the connections became controversial and dissolved in the case of some denominations. With the Unitarians however, as they were permissive of critiques of the Biblical text, the connection between Humanism and the Reformation remained untouched until the end. (A perfect example: Bishops such as György Enyedi, who Hungarianised Boccaccio's short stories and translated ancient romance stories, are practically unimaginable in any other denomination). The Transylvanian Reformation did not mean the spreading of the denominations in their present form readily packaged with clearly defined dogmatics: during the early decades, the position of the separate Protestant denominations and their connection was rather unclear. There were marked local differences and the contemporaries had other issues on their agenda than we do today. At first, the majority of the future converts in Hungary and Transylvania received Luther's teachings. But then, some of the younger trainees for priesthood, featuring among them the bishop-to-be of Debrecen,

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the so-called "Hungarian Calvin," following a shift in the doctrine of the communion, which left out the issue of predestination, rallied round Péter Melius Juhász6, himself a convert to the Calvinist strain of the Wittenberg Reformation. (In his theological works Melius assigned a central place to man in the image of God and his dignity in the Italian Renaissance-style, linking them both with the ideal of universal priesthood. Consequently, his views on predestination and free will are radically different from Calvin's and as regards the church structure he modeled Debrecen on Zwingli's Zurich rather than on Geneva.) The schism between the Augustinian and Swiss Reformations did not mark an immediate division of the church structure: in the beginning, both parties wished to prevail within a common church structure. In Hungary, the banning of the Swiss Reformation (the Sacramentarians, in the epoch's wording) was briefly successful, but later Melius and Ferenc Dávid persuaded the believers, mainly the Hungarian, to accept the Swiss strain in Transylvania and its dominions. (Soon, in Hungary, the trend prevailed within Protestantism). Later on, Ferenc Dávid developed an anti-Trinitarian conviction under Biandrata's teaching and by personal theological reasoning and he opposed Melius out of loyalty to the Swiss beliefs. He even won over the majority of the Transylvanian Hungarians. In 1568, after the separation between Melius and Dávid, the Parliament in Turda was convoked proclaiming religious freedom for the first time in history with the approval of Unitarian János Zsigmond, under the preparations of Ferenc Dávid and especially with the vote of the Unitarians. The law was not discriminating between denominations: all preachers were entitled to explain the Scriptures and the local authorities to employ the adequate preacher. (Back then and long after, Transylvanian Protestantism was not in the habit of meeting in sessions. The law granted the lay authorities the right to choose a priest.) The evolution of the Transylvanian Reformation was heavily influenced by the political context. Unitarian János Zsigmond was followed by Catholic István Báthory at the helm of Transylvania. The latter did not exert over the Protestants the kind of authority that both the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania did, for instance, but he did make some attempts to limit the Unitarian influence to a minimum. He confiscated their printing shop,7 he divested Ferenc David of his position as a bishop and imprisoned him in the fortress of Deva, where he died shortly. (The commemoration of his death, November 15, is the official Memorial Day of the Unitarian Church.) The prince's religious policy focused on bringing to an end the Reformation in Transylvania: the prohibition of any further potential changes became a redundant element in the laws promulgated under his rule. This bent of his was a hindrance to the theological activity of other Protestant denominations as well but it particularly hindered the Unitarians who were averse to dogmatics and were striving to become an independent denomination. In their denomination structure, Unitarians were compelled to separate from the Swiss wing with which they formed practically the same church under

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Bishop Ferenc Dávid. Later on they derived their official creeds from the princely authority and the regulations of the assembly laws rather than from their own theology averse to rigid dogmatics. The term itself - Unitarianism - is of political-legal origins: the Assembly in Lécfalva [Leþ] introduced it in 1600 to give a name to the believers who until then had been called Davidists.

The Unitarians had a special relationship with the religious strain called "Sabbatarianism" founded by Simon Péchi with the aid of Eössi András at the end of the 16th century. Practically, this religious community was never able to function freely and independently, and its followers were almost always members of a recognized church, oftener than not Unitarian. The members of this denomination re-directed the Reformation towards the Old Testament and the rabbinical literary studies. During the persecution they closed their ties with the laws of Moses, and after 1867 those who survived converted to Judaism8 by law. At the early stage of Unitarianism, the charge of "Judaisation" had already been formulated against Ferenc Dávid, which was a rather familiar occurrence in the religious debates of the epoch. Yet with the Sabbatarians emerging in the background, and the Jewish community fleeing the country, it acquired a more serious meaning: it intertwined with the intention to "uncover" the officially Unitarian, Sabbatarian in reality, adherents.

Transylvanian Unitarianism suffered heavy losses during the forced re-Catholicization by the Habsburgs but it managed to preserve its church structure and basic institutions. In Hungary, after the Ottoman rule, they functioned legally only after 1867 but ever since, theirs has been an unremitting presence. By the turn of the century, they had acquired a special position in Budapest: an independent Hungarian bishopric was founded in addition to the Transylvanian one, and for part of the educated metropolitan intelligentsia and the bourgeoisie, Unitarianism became a church compatible with personal conviction. (Suffice it to mention Béla Bartók's conversion.) Transylvanian Unitarians played an important cultural role. Let us mention Sámuel Brassai, the last Transylvanian polyhistorian, or Béla Varga, a reflexive witness of history, remarkable philosopher, bishop and professor who renewed Unitarian theology.

Particular strains of the Transylvanian Reformation paired up with particular mother tongues at an early stage. Early on, the number of Saxon adherents had been quite high among the Unitarians: Dávid himself came from a Saxon bourgeois family in Kolozsvár. His real last name was Hertel. Early on, the existence of the Unitarian college in Kolozsvár was determined by balancing between the Saxon and Hungarian influences: it was run in rotation by a Saxon rector and Hungarian lector alternating with a Hungarian rector and Saxon lector. Later on, with better finances, there was both a Hungarian and a Saxon lector in a school where the language of instruction9 was Latin. But after the Saxon Universitas successfully created a Lutheran church structure coinciding with its territorial autonomous boundaries, the Unitarian and Reformed churches

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strengthened their links to the Hungarians, whereas Lutheranism remained close to the Saxons of the region. This was registered from the start in the religious texts in the vernaculars. Ferenc Dávid always presented his messages to the general public in Hungarian, while Honterus, the Saxon reformer, in German; they both wrote in Latin for the elite. Gáspár Heltai's example is typical: the priest known as an eminent man of letters and printer followed in the steps of Ferenc Dávid from Catholicism through the Lutheran and Calvinist reformation to Unitarianism. While an Augustinian adherent, he wrote and preached in his native language, in German, but as Reformed, and later Unitarian, he became a leading representative of the Hungarian literature ceasing all activity in German. (The debates on the Reformation and the conversion of believers made little use of the Romanian language: only the Reformed in the region of Fãgãras used it to create an important Romanian religious literature. The gap may be accounted for by the fact that Orthodoxy fell outside the daily struggle of the Reformation, its main contention being papal authority. Reformation was a movement of renewal for the adherents formerly affiliated to the same (western) church. Its participants tried to convince the "papists" and each other, generally ignoring the Orthodox)

With the exception of the above-mentioned territories, Unitarianism was on solid grounds in England and America, but the history of their churches differs essentially from that of the Polish-Lithuanian and the Transylvanian communities. Unitarian thinkers emerged in England too at the beginning of the 17th century drawing significant audiences. But as of 1648, severe prohibitive laws were issued against those who refused to accept the Trinity. They failed to be observed and were eventually invalidated by the subsequent laws of 1813 and 1844. Thus, Theophil Lindsey founded the first Unitarian congregation as late as 1773, with a bigger church to emerge under the initiative of Joseph Priestley's organization. Priestly was forced to emigrate to Pennsylvania because of his republican ideas of which he made no secret, not even during the French Revolution. In the United States, especially around Boston in Massachusetts, Unitarianism had become popular among the more educated and enlightened at the end of the century. After 1806-1808 their circle, the "(theologically) liberals" would become the most influential group at Harvard but they formed distinct communities only after the 1820s, when the representatives of traditional Protestantism practically expelled them. In the 19th century, under the influence of some eminent theologians such as Ellary Channing, Theodor Parker and Ralph Waldo Emerson - the lay thinker with a religious bent, the adherents to Unitarianism played an important part in the American spiritual life well above expectations, considering the scarcity in number. The main ideological feature of the English-American Unitarianism, in contrast to the continental one, was that it was structured as a church only during the Enlightenment, in consonance with the philosophy of the age. It recognized its roots both in the Polish-Lithuanian and Transylvanian precedents and in

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the Enlightenment deist thinkers of the 18th century. The religious ideas of the American Founding Fathers, Jefferson, Madison and Washington, and the trends of thought of the initiators of the Bill of Rights are to some degree in the tradition of American Unitarianism. (Lines of thought can be traced back to the Unitarian argumentation of the French Enlightenment sages. Voltaire for one, especially in the sections of his Philosophical Alphabet where he argues against Catholicism in favor of the Unitarians with no intention whatsoever, on his part or that of his followers, of founding a community based on their ideology. No other religious congregation whatsoever claims its tradition from Voltaire's texts.) Forming an opinion on the American situation is difficult for the Continental European due to the fusion between Unitarianism in its fundamentals and other groups more or less loosely connected to the religious traditions of the mid 20th century. Consequently, the common theological points of view are scarcer among the groupings forming the church itself than within other avowed Unitarian churches.

The Transylvanian Unitarian church has been in official contact with the English Unitarians since 1821 and with the Americans since 1834, which is quite early considering that back then the denomination could not carry out any legal activity in Hungary or in England, with milder restrictions still holding as late as 1844.

Important Elements of Unitarian Teaching from the Perspective of our Study

Following the rationale of our study, the elements of importance in the Hungarian-Transylvanian and Hungarian-Unitarian teaching can be divided into two groups:

1. Teachings on the religious ceremonials, the sacraments and the nature of God underlying interconfessional agreement: Jesus was a real, yet not completely ordinary man (non est purus et vulgaris homo) who was the son of God in the sense that from among God's children he was His favorite and also the Lord's prophet. In him the Holy Ghost, perceived as God's power and help, was the most active. The communion taken at fixed religious holidays is a commemoration of Jesus but it is not a sacrament, so a sinner cannot be deprived of it. Baptism, even though founded on the teachings of Jesus, is also merely a human custom that does not readily turn anyone into a Christian in a spiritual sense, nor does its absence bring about damnation. Distinct by their theological convictions, the Transylvanians emphatically rejected the Trinity and assigned less importance to baptism and communion than other confessions. This could possibly be due to the early theologians, especially Jacobus Palaeologus, who wished to reconcile all Christian denominations, all monotheist religions if possible, by drafting a mutually accepted minimum. Thus he considered that baptism was a necessary ceremony during the early Christian period, that it was a sign of conversion from other religions

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but it lost all significance for those born in a family already Christian. Its preservation simply as a custom by relinquishing the teaching that those who had not taken baptism were doomed, rendered unnecessary all efforts to renounce it. As of 1578, Ferenc Dávid abandoned the Christening of children in the territories under his influence, which would become the prime cause for his arrest. In contrast to the Transylvanians, the Polish and Lithuanian Unitarians looked for a solution close to the Anabaptists and opposed to the Papists.

2. Teachings on the rejection of the original sin: the reason why humans inevitably sin is because of their fallible and imperfect nature, its essence being the denial of their state as sons of God. Their sins cannot be erased but God, He alone, can forgive them. Jesus releases his followers from sin through the example of his own life in the sense that by following his example one can live and sin less. ("Redemption" is not deemed explicable in this line of thought.) It follows that the perception of Jesus as a human being and the denial of the original sin are logically connected: if there is no original sin, there is no need for the redemption of the Catholic view, and vice versa. If Jesus' moral example suffices to release men from their sins, then our nature cannot be wretched and sinful as in the Catholic view.

In the 19th century, from among the Polish-Lithuanian and the Transylvanian Unitarians's writings few books were accessible to the general audience because of the above-mentioned censorship. The collection (Albae Iuliae, 1568)10 entitled De falsa et vera unius Dei Patris, Filii et spiritus Sancti cognitione libri duo arrived in western Europe for, in addition to János Zsigmond, it was also dedicated to Elisabeth Queen of England. Unfortunately, never being re-published, it was lost in the 17th century. Christoph Sand's collection entitled Bibliotheca Antitrinitariorum (Freistadii, 168411), containing mainly Polish works, was the accessible source for the 17th century people with literary interest. So was György Enyedi's literary venture keenly read by John Locke and Isaac Newton, among others: Explicationes locorum Veteris et Novi testamenti, ex quibus trinitatis dogma stabiliri solet (Kolozsvár, 1598).12

In the last two decades, alongside the Polish-Lithuanian and Transylvanian Unitarian texts, and the earlier theology history works, which were mainly the product of the institutional structure of the church, some more serious philological research was initiated in cultural history. Antal Pirnát, Róbert Dán and Mihály Balázs are considered the best known researchers in the field in Hungary and Lech Szczucki in Poland.13

2. Locke and Unitarianism

Locke's journey from Oxford orthodoxy to Dutch Unitarian readings

All of the specialty literature is consensual over the shift in Locke's political philosophy as brought on by his Dutch emigration. Locke's philology is closely

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linked to the political context and the history of philosophy. In all analyses, Locke's Unitarian readings14 are generally associated with his concept of toleration, since the touchstone of the notion of tolerance was the existence or absence of tolerance towards the Unitarians. Moreover, Unitarianism is the only theology of a denomination consistently and explicitly espousing the idea of religious patience. However, apart from these undoubtedly important elements, little attention is paid to a noticeable parallel between Locke's approach to `man living in a state of nature', the character of the social contract and the ways of entering it, and the Unitarian teachings on the original sin and free will, although they played at least as important a role in the development of Locke's contract theory as did the critiques by Filmer and Hobbes.

According to the research carried out by Marshall, Locke started to read the Unitarian writers in 1679, among whom the most important was György Enyedi, with the work above mentioned. The influence of Locke's regular Unitarian theological readings cannot be traced verbatim in his writings for the general public, but any occurrence of a new motive can be accountable for by them. From the winter of 1680-1681 Locke began to deal more seriously with the issue of the Fall of the first human couple, with original sin and free will, distancing himself gradually from his original, roughly Calvinist perspective on the issue, and nearing the Unitarian thought.15

The true value of Locke's orientation in this respect is accountable for, considering that the incipient of the traditional Christian political thought is Augustine, in whose theory the wretched human nature makes worldly power a necessity. The strain of anthropology claiming that the wretched human nature of man is the consequence of the original sin and the rigor of the political theory founded therein mellow down in Thomas Aquinas. Yet, the early modern thinkers dealing with the social contract, particularly the Protestants, were inspired mainly by the Augustinian type anthropology. Most of Locke's forerunners, among which Hobbes's name is hardly enough, drew a sharp boundary between the natural and political states by analogy on the Middle Age Christian conception linking the origins of earthly power to the Fall, and our birth in sin to our birth under authority, meaning that we cannot undo our ties to power. The idea of innocence in the state of nature is not preserved in Hobbes. But under the basic anthropological prerequisite, the notion of a state power activated by man's "spoilt nature", the relationship of the pre-modern and theological origins between men's fallen nature and the origins of power can be pinned down. One will not stray too far if one also brings in the fear of death, the main drive in Hobbes's man in his wretched condition: man is mortal because of his sinful nature. This fills him with fear and the fear caused by his spoilt nature makes it both possible and necessary for a society to emerge and function.

In Locke's works on political philosophy written in Oxford, especially in the manuscripts entitled Two Treatises of Civil Government16 he clearly represented this traditional perspective and according to his notes, by 1676

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he was roughly of the same opinion. Throughout the period, while still in his homeland, prior to undergoing the spiritual influences under the Dutch emigration, he started to study the Church Fathers, particularly Athanasius who had made the Holy Trinity part of the creed. They were then followed in Holland by more thorough and broader Unitarian readings, among which György Enyedi's significantly came first. Marshall writes:

By the time the Treatises were published it had become clear, as it will be seen later, that Locke opposed original sin, as did the Socinians. It is also possible that he had developed this opposition at the time he was describing the state of nature as peaceable and less sinful.17

The Most Important Unitarian Reading: An Interpretation of György Enyedi

This can only set one off thinking what aspects of the Transylvanian Unitarian thought, featuring different goals and sources, raised Locke's interest who was busy contemplating his Dutch experience and his broader Protestant readings.

The most significant author read by the British philosopher was György Enyedi, the third bishop of the Unitarian church, best known to researchers of the old Hungarian literature as he who re-wrote and adapted Boccaccio's The Story of Gismunda and Gisquardus18 and as the translator into Latin19 of Heliodor's Aithiopikon [Sorsüldözte szerelmesek in several editions in modern Hungarian], preserved for posterity in one of King Matthias's codices. But the influence on western Europe of his already mentioned theological work had been acknowledged for quite some time, particularly as accounted for by the Dutch edition available during Locke's stay there. In his theological work, Enyedi took into account and interpreted from the Unitarian perspective the Biblical verses used by other churches as arguments for the dogma of the Holy Trinity. Enyedi's work is generally viewed as one targeting an international readership and thus features a well-structured minimum of Unitarian opinions (going by the name of anti-Trinitarians, Socinians, Davidists in Transylvania, or, more simply, followers of the "religion of Kolozsvár.") In this text as well as in Enyedi's other works, especially his sermons, it becomes apparent that the author tried to incorporate arguments by his Unitarian predecessors or forerunners, but the final conclusion is a compromise with the existing possibilities. Enyedi's spiritual ambitions were in perfect harmony with his activity as a bishop. (Under him, no legal proceedings were started against any priest or teacher for their personal theological views. This does not, however, denote some sort of weakness: but if a priest/teacher failed in his duties or in matters of ethics, Enyedi was even stricter than his predecessor). As an advocate of the freedom of thought, he drew on his humanist education and personal temperament. Nevertheless, he managed just as well in his capacity of bishop too. He was in charge of the contacts with the Unitarians

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under the Ottoman dominion, especially those in Baranya, whom the Transylvanian prince, although the earthly authority, was not able to force into sharing his own private beliefs nor into observing his church regulations. These Unitarians, who equaled in number the Transylvanian Unitarians, were keenly aware of their independence, so, in matters of theology they were always more radical and vocal than the Transylvanians. They had not, for instance, recognized the authority of Demeter Hunyadi, Enyedi's predecessor. Perhaps the renewed connections with the Unitarians under the Ottoman dominion seasoned Enyedi's attitude towards the Turks with some ambivalence. On the one hand, he depicted them as cruel evildoers who tortured the Christians, but on the other, he practically planted the seeds of modernism into the Turkish practice. He asserted that state power was maintained through imposing taxes and loyalty, which could be ensured through interdiction of armed revolts, rather than ruling through souls and religion, as was the Habsburg practice. The theoretical emphasis on the significance of personal belief (beyond the self-evident tradition of the Protestant churches) was the contribution of the Transylvanian Unitarianism, which although no longer a pliable movement, was still not yet a church with solid dogmas under the varied lay authorities. Enyedi's studies in Padua were a methodological help in this respect. Enyedi, as accused during several debates, rather excelled in less priestly matters. He brought back from university a contemporary version of the methodological individualism just spreading in the early-modern mechanical views, called the "method of Padua", which dated back to Aristotle. Enyedi acquired it from the same Zarabella, who inspired Harvey, and through him, Hobbes, to be applied in biology and in the study of society, respectively.20

In the course of writing the above-mentioned work, the general background was filling in with information about his own Unitarian theological tradition as furnished by the Sozzini brothers, Ferenc Dávid, and especially Jacobus Palaeologus. Under such influence, both the virtual readership of the theological masterpiece and the range of the atonement or the impact of religious freedom as announced in sermon more or less overtly, depending on the situation, changed. Whereas Palaeologus, the Greek monk born in Khios, a Unitarian convert and martyr in Rome, originally imagined the atonement of all monotheist religions including Islam, Enyedi would have been satisfied with the atonement of just the European Protestants on some common grounds. Hardly insignificant, if one considers that in the debates of the epoch religious tolerance and peace was a regular item on the agenda of the solitary thinker, while the Unitarian church was foremost in integrating it in its "official" theological teaching from the start. (If there was anything close to an official Unitarian dogma, particularly in the early times, as compared to the teachings of the other Christian churches. This is certainly no indication of immaturity: from the start Unitarianism maintained a theology open to new overtures and further improvement). Enyedi's target readership was

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the same that Locke addressed in his letter on tolerance.21

Contract theory without the original sin

We have seen above that Locke's growing interest in Unitarianism reached a climax just as he was preparing to write his second essay on government.22 This could explain our intention of finding a parallel between certain anthropological assumptions found in this work and the Unitarian denial of the original sin. Not surprisingly, one can find the critical parts in chapter eight, which specifically deals with the origins of political societies. There is no anthropological assumption per se in Locke's text based on which one could definitely trace the necessity of earthly authority back to human nature. Obviously, man does not have a wretched nature, nor is he innocent, either. It is common for some interpreters to apply the part about the "golden age" (111. §.) to the natural state, while for others to the early stage of government, as the transition from one to the other is not well defined. The connection is even tighter in 116.§ and further on, where Locke lined up his well-known arguments against Filmer's conception stressing that we were all born under some form of patriarchal power, wherein lie all forms of worldly power, and which ultimately originates from Adam. It obviously conceives of dominion as punishment, going hand in hand with the original sin. On the contrary, Locke emphasizes that all people are born free, which in the logic of his discourse is possible only if he imagined the new generation free from the original sin. But the text bears throughout the stylistic characteristics of Locke's turn: nowhere in the text does he clearly refute the original sin. Moreover, in the sections where he either argues with a physical presence or else refutes a general belief, he draws on the commonplaces about Adam and his sons of the political theory literature of his time. The whole work allows for a reading that does not step out from the conceptual frame of Locke's predecessors; he is merely less inconsistent compared with Hobbes, for instance. But later, in Reasonableness… and particularly in his manuscripts and notes he explicitly reconsiders his standpoint by stating it more clearly.23

At this stage one should refer by necessity to the relation between Locke's epistemological, theological and political philosophy works. In his masterpiece An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,24 in the refutation of Descartes's theory on innate ideals, Chapter 19 of the first book, it is argued that the concept of sin cannot be an inborn concept since it is not rendered in similar wording in all cultures. (On the other hand, he has the same argument for virtue). He who cannot discern between sin and virtue but also he who cannot develop the capacity to distinguish is not sinful as a result of his unspoiled nature but is not perfect either. This becomes inevitably a constant reminder of the image of the man who has personal sins, concordant with the Unitarian view. But, to the end, Locke kept close to the ideas explaining the state of human kind through the

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Fall, rather than to Unitarianism. Apparently, he disagrees that man's condition as a creature justifies the imperfection of his nature, his mortality and obligation to work, and he will uphold to the end the theory that Adam's perfect original condition, although lost with consequences upon his descendants, did not thereby bequeath sin upon them. Locke argues that he needs this to support the idea of Christ as the Redeemer because redemption needs a certain pre-redemption state that was worse by necessity. This viewpoint is paralleled in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd by Milton published in 1667 and 1671 respectively, also close to the Unitarian views. (The De Doctrina Christiana dealing with these theoretical ideas was in manuscript back then, with the English translation to be printed only in 1825. It was hardly read by anyone outside the writer's own close circle. One cannot know for sure whether Locke had read the dramatic poems then available but neither can one know whether he showed any particular interest in the literature of his age. Nevertheless, his other Milton readings can be documented. For instance, when he was preparing to write the letter on tolerance, his friends called his attention upon the Areopagitica.)

It is particularly interesting to evaluate the fragments by Locke which lead us to conclude that our thinker sometimes left open several possibilities for the poly-genesis of human kind while elsewhere he clearly accepts the descent from Adam. The fragments in his Treatises of Civil Government where he expresses the impossibility to trace the origins of power back to Adam, and the epistemological writings where he proves the non-existence of innate ideals/concepts, both draw with much gusto upon the ethnographic examples supplied by the travel diaries of the age, of which he was a fervent admirer. In both cases he argued against a certain bodily unity of human kind. ("This is how we are, these are inevitably the ideals and institutions that we have, we are people and it cannot be otherwise with Adam's sons.") To the determinism of descent - let us not forget that for his partners in epistemological and social debates, the descent was the principle that legitimized power - he counter-posed the idea of the free expression of people's abilities, which came as an advantage if the abilities could be developed without prerequisites. Bearing this in mind, one then notices that the pertinent passages reveal that Locke did not simply defend the free possibilities of the individual human mind, imagined as a blank sheet, against the biological determinism of the innate ideal and the freedom of agreement against the legitimizing descent from Adam, but that he also hinted that, indeed, all are not descended from Adam. But even in the most poignant fragments, in the sentence from the Reasonableness of Christianity… we have quoted above, he left open the interpretation according to which the discourse was merely about the conflicts of legitimization based on descent and contract. And phrasing such as: "…Adam, whom millions had never heard of and no one authorized to be…his representative" can be considered parts of a rhetoric argumentation rather than word for word statements.

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One has to take notice of Locke's really careful wording of polygenesis because the polygenesis-monogenesis debate became a top issue in the ethical, anthropological and, indirectly, political theory debates over the following generations, mostly inspired by him. In opposition with the traditional biblical view of the monogensis of human kind, the theory of polygenesis had emerged during Renaissance. Many trace it back to Paracelsus yet, in what we are concerned, more importantly it was derived from the Unitarian thinking of Palaeologus as the argument against the teaching about the original sin. If we are not all descended from Adam, and which of us exactly are Adamites, the consequence of Adam's fall is definitely of only relative significance for human kind today.25 Considering that these preliminaries were hardly known to his contemporaries, the emergence in the early modern period of the theory of polygenesis can only be linked to Holland, some decades before Locke.26 Since about mid 18th century until today the polygenetic theory has interwoven with the theory of European superiority and certain forms of racism. Especially in the colonies27 it is particularly important to indicate that this theory first emerged as an argument against the traditional theory of creation and its consequences, while in France mainly, it played a similar role against the suppositions about the multitude of worlds fashionable. Both tried to prove that rational creatures regardless of their descent from Adam are capable of cognition, ethical behavior and creation of society.

Yet, being free of the original sin (partly argued by the denial that all are descended from Adam) does not mean innocence, for that would be equal to imperfection. The imperfect man, always the sinner, generally creates a certain political power, which, however, is not an anthropological necessity. Man can dissolve the social contract by the very fact that, in theory at least, for a hypothetical moment, he can be imagined both as a human being and an individual outside the contract.

A few generations later, in the political movements of the 18th century, with less concern for the original sin and theological considerations, a new wording is employed: man is born free.


* Translated from Hungarian by Szasz Maria Augusta.

1 Miguel Servet, De trinitatis erroribus libri septem, Anno 1531 (Facsimile: Frankurt a. M 1965).

2 Spinoza was in close contact with one of these Socinian communities.

3 Cluj-Napoca (Romania). As the author used the Hungarian toponym (Kolozsvár) in the original text, it will be preserved throughout the translation. (tr..n.)

4 Jozsef Hajos says that after the Báthory censorship, Adam Neuser on behalf of Ferenc Dávid went to the occupied Simand to publish a debate sheet. See József Hajos, Lessing Dávid Ferencékrõl. Erdélyi vonatkozások az elsõ Neuser-cikkben in Jozsef Hajos, Barangolás kolozsvári könytárakban (Bukarest-Kolozsvár: Kriterion Kvk, 1999), p.265.

5 Raków is an insignificant town today in the Vojvodina of Kielce, at the margins of the Polish Central Mountains, south of Warsaw, close to Radom.

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6 Péter Juhász, during his college years in Wittenberg, in the fashion of the epoch, had his last name translated into Greek, then he used its Latin version, Melius, to sign his theological works in Latin.

7 Given the limited printing possibilities, the manuscript collection of the Unitarian college became crucially important. Many theological texts that could not be published because of the censorship were read and copied here. Most are in a 20th century printed version or else have never been printed. See the catalogue of the works: Elemer Lakó [Compiled by]: The Manuscripts of the Unitarian College of Cluj/Kolozsvár in the Library of the Academy in Cluj-Napoca, vol 1-2 (Szeged, 1997)

8 The Sabbatarians created an important manuscript literature that survived in the last Sabbathist community in Bözödújfalu [Bezdu Nou]. A part of it was published at the turn of the century, and now again. The latest text collection: András Kovács: Bözödújfalvi szombatosok szertartási és imádságos könyve (Pallas-Akadémia Kvk.: Csikszereda, 2000.) On their history see: Róbert Dán: Az erdélyi szombatosok es Péchi Simon.

9 The school functioned from 1558 to 1693 where the Sigismund Toduta Music High-school is located today.

10 Modern facsimile published with an introduction in English by Antal Pirnát : Budapest, Akadémiai k., 1988. Its modern translation: Két könyv az egyedülvaló Atyaistennek, a Fiúnak és a Szentléleknek hamis és igaz ismeretérõl, (Kolozsvár, Unitárius Egyház, 2002.[Translated by Lajos Péter, introduction by Mihály Balázs.]

11 Modern facsimile published in: Warsaw, 1968.

12 Newer edition, used also by Locke: Groningen, 1670. Hungarian version translated by Máté Toroczkai: Az o es uy testamentvmbeli helyeknek, mellyekbol az Haromsagrol valo tudomant szoktak allatni magyarázattyok (Kolozsvát, 1619, 1620). Fragments of the Hungarian translation in a modern issue: Enyedi György válogatott mûvei (György Enyedi's Selected Works) (Bukarest-Kolozsvár, Kriterion, 1997).[Selected by Mihály Balázs and János Káldos, with foreword by Mihály Balázs.]

13 For our study, the volume by Mihály Balázs is particularly important: Az erdélyi antitrinitarianizmus az 1560-as évek végén (Akadémiai K: Budapest, 1988) For their research results available in world languages see: Róbert Dán and Antal Pirnát [eds]: Antitrinitarianism in the Second Half of the 16th Century (Akadémiai K, E.J. Brill: Budapest-Leiden, 1982.)

14 In the overall research of Locke resulting in the more specific discovery of these parallels in the English Unitarian thinker, the Cambridge school has played an important role. I was particularly interested in Resistance, Religion and Responsibility by John Marshall (Cambridge, 1996) and I will refer to its philological data several times.

15 See the quoted John Marshall, particularly pp. 141-146.In the last chapter of his book, where he tackles Locke's later line of thought , Marshall calls Locke a "Unitarian heretic", an unfortunate but unequivocal choice of words.

16 Modern edition: P Abrahams (ed), Two Tracts Upon Government (Cambridge, 1969).

17 Marshall quoted, p.145.

18 Historia elegantissima regis Tancredi filiae, nec non secretarii regis Gisquardi. Kolozsvár, 1582.

19 Manuscript available in the Romanian Academy Library , Kolozsvar/Cluj branch.

20 J.W.N. Watkins discusses in detail the relationship between Zarabella and Harvey, then through him with Hobbes: Hobbes's System of Ideas. A study in the Political Significance of Philosophical Theories, (Hutchkinson University: London, 1965, 2nd ed 1973.) On Enyedi's studies in Padus, Zarabella's influence and the resulting conflicts at home, see Mihály Balázs's introduction to the above-mentioned modern edition of Enyedi.

21 I do not believe that the common aim was coincidental. I explain the exclusion of the Catholics from religious tolerance in Locke and Enyedi through the special early-modern view on the political community in my work published in Kellék in Kolozsvár: A politikai közösség koramodern fogalma. John Locke elõfeltevései=Kellék , 2001, no.17, p.125-150.

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.22 In P. Laslett (ed), Two Treatises on Government (Cambridge, 1963, 1987).

23 "Some would have all Adam's posterity doomed to eternal infinite punishment, for the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authorised to transact for him, or be his representative." Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered from the Scriptures, 4-7;in A Paraphrase and NOTES Upon the Epistles of St. Paul, ed. A. Wainwright 2 vols. II, (Oxford, 1989) pp. 679.

24 P. Nidditch (ed.), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford, 1978).

25 Palaeologus's theory remained in manuscript during his life time but the Unitarian intellectuals of Kolozsvar, especially Gyorgy Enyedi who copied Palaeologus's works, was familiar with it although he did not discuss it in his works for the general public, so its indirect influence on Locke is practically impossible, yet important, to take into account as a parallel. The most
important manuscripts for the present topic are: Iacobi Palaeologi De tribus gentibus;Iacobi Palaeologi De Peccato originis; Iacobo Palaeologi Am omnes ab uno Adamo descenderint. See their modern editions in:Lech Szczucki: W kregu myslicieli heretickich. Wroclaw, Warsawa, Krakow, Gdansk, 1972, p. 229-244.

26 It is about Preadamintae sive exertatio super versibus 12, 13 et 14 capitis V. Epistolae Pauli ad Romanos by Isaac de la Peyrere, French Calvinist thinker, which appeared in Amsterdam in 1655. I do not have specific data about Locke having read it but the public burning of the books in Paris after the author foresook his theories lend such fame to the work that Locke must have heard about the matter and the related theory.

27 The original theory about the pre-Adamites in its obsolete form was still being propagated in some Calvinist Boer communities in the not too distant past with clear connections to the Apartheid.

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