Biddle, John

Biddle, John,

1615–62, founder of English UnitarianismUnitarianism,
in general, the form of Christianity that denies the doctrine of the Trinity, believing that God exists only in one person. While there were previous antitrinitarian movements in the early Christian Church, like Arianism and Monarchianism, modern Unitarianism
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. From his examination of the Scriptures he lost belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and stated his conclusions in Twelve Arguments Drawn Out of Scripture. When the existence of this paper was made known to the magistrates in 1645, Biddle was imprisoned, as he was frequently thereafter. His Twelve Arguments was suppressed and burned publicly in 1647. Upon the publication of his Two-fold Catechism in 1654, he was tried for his life but received from Oliver CromwellCromwell, Oliver
, 1599–1658, lord protector of England. Parliamentary General

The son of a gentry family, he entered Cambridge in 1616 but probably left the next year.
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 a sentence of banishment to the Scilly Islands. Returning in 1658, Biddle taught and preached until in 1662 he was again thrown into prison, where he died. His followers were called Biddelians, Socinians, or Unitarians.


See biography by J. Toulmin (1789).