Jacob Bauthumley

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Jacob Bauthumley or Bottomley [1] (1613–1692) was an 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[citation needed]. 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 that 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]


Bauthumley 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]

Historian 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 (in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography), Bauthaumley or 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. "Jacob Bauthumley denied that the Bible was the Word of God, and thought that 'Scripture as it is in the history' was no better 'than any other writings of good men'. 'The Bible without is but a shadow of that Bible which is within'."
  10. ^ Hill, Milton and the English Revolution (1977), p. 293.
  11. ^ 403 Forbidden Archived 2013-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Hill, Milton, p. 301.
  13. ^ Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (1993), p. 26.