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 an army chaplain in the invasions of Ireland and Scotland, overseeing educational reform as dean of Christ Church and vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford, writing the petition that persuaded Cromwell not to accept the offer of the crown, leading the army republicans in their last desperate gamble to preserve the republic, ultimately and unwittingly paving the way for the restoration of Charles II and the brutal persecution of republicans and religious dissenters that followed. Owen’s millions of words have been kept in print in reproductions of the best nineteenth-century edition, edited by William Goold in 24 closely printed volumes, and attention is increasingly being paid to the unpublished sermons notes held in Dr Williams’s Library, London, and to relevant para-texts, including the anthology of verse published in Oxford in 1654 to commemorate the end of the Dutch war, in which Owen’s opening Latin eulogy is followed by work from Christ Church students and alumni, on both sides of the civil war divide, in English, French, Old English, Welsh, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. And, just as Owen is attracting scholarly increasing attention, so that attention is coming from a broader range of disciplinary backgrounds, and is being published by a broader range of academic publishers …

You can read the full review, in the excellent Journal of the Northern Renaissancehere.


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