This introductory chapter offers a literary and historical framework for investigating the multiple approaches in the book, engaging with traditional and recent accounts of the history of tolerance. Of primary concern is the vital role of literary evidence in a study of toleration. Milton's complex attitudes towards toleration are aired, the history of post-Reformation tolerance surveyed, and relations between Milton's various writings are suggested. The introduction sets up the stakes of the inquiry in literary studies and in the history of political and religious thought, as well as introduces the subsequent chapters in the volume.
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