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Unitarianism is a monotheistic, non-trinitarian offshoot of Christianity, dating back the early days of Christianity,[1] but taking form as a denomination during the Protestant Reformation, building over two centuries starting about 1599 or 1600.[2]


History and background

The movement gained momentum from Polish publications, Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum quos Unitarios vocant,[1] and by 1673 found its way to Britain by the Socinianist (non-trinitarian) Henry Hedworth. The movement built rapidly during the Enlightenment. Joseph Priestley and Theophilus Lindsey moved to make Unitarianism a formal denomination about 1774, legally establishing it under the Doctrine of the Trinity Act in 1813.[2]

In Colonial America, Unitarianism found fertile soil to grow, influencing the founding fathers, most notably Thomas Jefferson.[3] Some Unitarian churches are named after Jefferson.


Unitarianism grew out of belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament, but that Jesus, while a moral authority, great teacher, and prophet, was not divine. By extension, Unitarians are absolute monotheists (the 'uni' in unitarian) and do not follow trinitarian theology.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Stead, Christopher. Philosophy in Christian Antiquity. Cambridge University Press. (27 Jan 1996). ISBN 978-0521469555
  2. 2.0 2.1 Browde, Anatole. Faith Under Siege: A History of Unitarian Theology. iUniverse. (26 Jan 2009). ISBN 978-1440111624
  3. Belote, Thom. UUHS on Thomas Jefferson, Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (1999, 2009)
  4. Unitarianism at a Glance, BBC

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