Robert Strivens’s interesting and important study of dissenting natural theology and eighteenth-century preaching, Philip Doddridge and the Shaping of Evangelical Dissent, was recently published by Ashgate (November 2015) and will be of great interest to many of our readers.
Publisher’s note: ‘Evangelical Dissent in the early eighteenth century had to address a variety of intellectual challenges. How reliable was the Bible? Was traditional Christian teaching about God, humanity, sin and salvation true? What was the role of reason in the Christian faith? Philip Doddridge (1702-51) pastored a sizeable evangelical congregation in Northampton, England, and ran a training academy for Dissenters which prepared men for pastoral ministry. Philip Doddridge and the Shaping of Evangelical Dissent examines his theology and philosophy in the context of these and other issues of his day and explores the leadership that he provided in evangelical Dissent in the first half of the eighteenth century. Offering a fresh look at Doddridge’s thought, the book provides a criticial examination of the accepted view that Doddridge was influenced in his thinking primarily by Richard Baxter and John Locke. Exploring the influence of other streams of thought, from John Owen and other Puritan writers to Samuel Clarke and Isaac Watts, as well as interaction with contemporaries in Dissent, the book shows Doddridge to be a leader in, and shaper of, an evangelical Dissent which was essentially Calvinistic in its theology, adapted to the contours and culture of its times.’
It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the publication on 17 December 2015 of Tessa Whitehouse’s book The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800 (Oxford University Press).
Publisher’s note: ‘Religious dissenters and their literary and social heritage are the principal subjects of this book. At its heart is a group of English men whose activities were local, transcontinental and circum-Atlantic. Drawing on letters, lecture notes, manuscript accounts of academies, and a range of printed texts and paratexts The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800 explores the connections between dissent, education, and publishing in the eighteenth century. By considering Isaac Watts and Philip Doddridge in relation to their mentors, students, friends, and readers it emphasizes the importance they and their associates attached to personal relationships in their private interactions and in print. It argues that this contributed to a distinctive literary style as well as particular modes of textual production for moderate, orthodox dissenters which reached beyond their own community to address and influence global discourses about education, enlightenment, and history. The book’s focus on ‘textual culture’ foregrounds relationships between forms as well as considering texts as they existed in one form or another. In examining textual culture, this book emphasises adaptation, transformation, fluidity and communality: it approaches the human relationships that make texts (including friendships, reading communities, intellectual exchange and business arrangements) with as much care as the content of the texts themselves. The book demonstrates that models of family and social authorship among Romantic-era dissenters advanced by Michelle Levy, Daniel White and Felicity James were rooted in the domestic culture at earlier academies and in the example of members of the Watts-Doddridge circle.’