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 important memoirists and translators within the cultures of English puritanism. During the early 1670s, she was closely associated with Owen, attending his London congregation while one of her sons was being tutored by Robert Ferguson, who was acting as Owen’s pastoral assistant before beginning the less predictable second phase of his career in which he worked variously as government spy and Jacobite agent.

I have written about the relationship between Owen and Hutchinson in an article entitled, “John Owen, Lucy Hutchinson and the experience of defeat,” The Seventeenth Century 30:2 (2015), which can be accessed here, and in the biography, John Owen and English Puritanism (2016). But some of my conclusions will need to be modified in view of this important new work.

This edition contains texts from Hutchinson’s theological notebook, her “On the principles of the Christian religion,” and “Of theologie,” which is a translation of the first book and part of the second book of Owen’s Theologoumena Pantodapa (1661). Norbrook’s general introduction to the volume and Stevenson’s introduction to “Of theologie” open up some important you directions new directions in Owen studies, asking important questions about the relationship between these two authors, and about the kinds of access that Hutchinson might have had to Owen’s manuscripts.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Hutchinson’s manuscripts contain notes of four previously unknown Owen sermons, which can be dated between April and June 1673. This means that we now have access to 21 sermons that Owen preached in that year (Table 2, p. 28, omits one sacramental sermon that should be dated to 10 August, vol. 16: 530 [BOT edition]). The multiplicity of sermons from this year provide a wonderful opportunity for further research into Congregational life during the year in which Owen’s small congregation of around 30 individuals merged with Joseph Caryl’s church and into premises in London.

With its identification of the sermon transcripts, the provision of Hutchinson’s translation of Owen’s Latin prolegomena, and with the editors’ advice about the literary relationship between these authors, this edition represents a wonderful resource for Owen scholars.

 

 

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