Jacob Bauthumley

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Jacob Bauthumley or Bottomley[1] (1613–1692) was a significant English radical religious writer, usually identified as a central figure among the Ranters. He is known principally for The light and dark sides of God (1650).[2][3] This work was regarded as blasphemous. After the Blasphemy Act of August 1650, he was arrested, convicted, and bored or burned through the tongue.[4]

Bauthumley had served in the Parliamentarian Army;[5] Norman Cohn[6] states that he was in the Army while writing the pamphlet, and took part in Ranter and Quaker meetings in Leicestershire in the mid-1650s. Christopher Hill[7] says he left the Army in March 1650. His family had earlier suffered ostracism, for permitting sermons by Jeremiah Burroughes to be said in their house;[8] he was a shoemaker.

After the Restoration of 1660 he was a librarian in Leicester. He produced a book of extracts from John Foxe, published in 1676.[5]


He denied that the Bible was the Word of God,[9] and that Christ was more divine than other men.[10] He considered that the real Devil lay in human nature,[11] while God dwells in the flesh of man.[12]

E. P. Thompson calls his views 'quasi-pantheistic' in their re-definition of God and Christ, and quotes A. L. Morton to the effect that this is the central Ranter doctrine.[13]


  1. ^ Also Jacob Bathumley, Bothumley (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography), Bauthaumley, Bauthumely.
  2. ^ The light and dark sides of God or A plain and brief discourse of the light side (God, Heaven and angels.) The dark side (Devill, sin, and Hell.) As also of the Resurrection and Scripture. : All which are set forth in their severall natures and beings, according to the spirituality of the Scripture. [WorldCat.org]
  3. ^ Extract
  4. ^ The Ranters
  5. ^ a b Radical Uses of History in the Restoration
  6. ^ The Pursuit of the Millennium, 1970 edition p. 303-6, with extracts.
  7. ^ The World Turned Upside Down, p. 208 of Penguin edition.
  8. ^ Nigel Smith, Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660 (1994), p. 143.
  9. ^ Hill, The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution (1993) p. 234.
  10. ^ Hill, Milton and the English Revolution (1977), p. 293.
  11. ^ 403 Forbidden
  12. ^ Hill, Milton, p. 301.
  13. ^ Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (1993), p. 26.