John Owen and the end of the English republic in “History Today”

From my article in the October 2018 issue of History Today: By the early months of 1658, the young English republic was in crisis. Nine years earlier, after a decade of civil war and three years of famine, leaders in the New Model Army had, as the poet Andrew Marvell later put it, ruined ‘the great…

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Owen research in Belfast

Why pursue PhD work on John Owen in Belfast? Relevant supervisors: Crawford Gribben (Queen's University Belfast) and Martyn Cowan (Union Theological College) have both published books on Owen. Relevant archives: Alongside first editions of works by Baxter, Hobbes, Milton etc., Queen's Special Collections unit has copies of such items as The doctrine of the saints perseverance…

More “new” Owen sermons

Readers of John Owen have gained an extraordinarily important new resource in volume two of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson, edited by Elizabeth Clarke, David Norbrook and Jane Stevenson, with textual introductions by Jonathan Gibson and editorial assistance from Mark Burden and Alice Eardley (Oxford University Press, 2018). Hutchinson was, of course, one of the most…

Owen sermon notes from 1653

I've just come across this important resource - a notebook of sermons heard in Oxford in 1653-54, with notes taken by Thomas Aldersey, shortly after he matriculated at Brasenose College. The list of preachers is a bit of a who's-who of Cromwellian Oxford, and includes such names as Thomas Cole, John Conant, Edward Reynolds, Henry Savage,…

John Owen in the Irish Times

This article appeared on the The Irish Times website, 6 December 2017. Ireland’s first revolution was part of a long religious war. By 1649, the island had been in turmoil for eight years, since unrest in Ulster had spiralled into a national conflict involving five independent armies, from three nations, in a bewildering succession of alliances.…

Thoughts on Reformation day

Exactly five hundred years ago, on 31 October 1517, an undistinguished professor of theology in a small German town posted a list of ideas that he hoped might contribute to ongoing debates about the reformation of the church. Or so the story goes. Martin Luther’s voice was one among many making suggestions about how the…

My review of the Cowan and McGraw monographs

John Owen (1616-83) is attracting increasing attention far beyond the theological circles in which his memory was, for many years, preserved. Owen has long been recognised as having been central to the rise and fall of the English republic – preaching to MPs on the day after the execution of Charles I, accompanying Cromwell as…