Dr. Lancaster’s paper explores the problem of “priestcraft” and the shifting philosophical responses it elicited in England before and after the publication of Locke’s Essay in 1690. The “problem of priestcraft” boils down to the following question: if the custodians of God’s tabernacle are corrupt, how can one know whether the contents of the tabernacle have not also been corrupted?
Examining Edward Herbert and Thomas Hobbes’ arguments and Locke’s Essay and The Reasonableness of Christianity, Dr. Lancaster argues that the “problem of priestcraft” acted as a catalyst to philosophically narrow the legitimate grounds of faith until faith was deemed legitimate only when grounded upon fact.
Dr. Lancaster is an intellectual historian who received his PhD from the Warburg Institute in the University of London. He is a UQ Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland.