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Stewart J. Brown, W. T. Stead: Nonconformist and Newspaper Prophet

Stewart J. Brown, W. T. Stead: Nonconformist and Newspaper Prophet 70 REVIEWS studies and challenges previous readings of Witherspoon’s life and legacy as they relate to reason and religion in the eighteenth-century transatlantic world. DeYoung succeeds at establishing Witherspoon as an influential figure in the realm of international Calvinism and showing the ways in which his Reformed identity underpinned his life’s work. Beyond this, the book is also well-written. The engaging and descriptive prose carries the narrative forward and keeps the thesis in view without stultifying repetition. DeYoung also exhibits a mastery of the literature, particularly the recent and relevant work of Gideon Mailer. He also humanises and contextualises Witherspoon, rather than defaulting to the all-too-common one-dimensional relation of events, facts, and dates. We see a minister, churchman, and statesman with emotional and relational complexities interwoven into his daily work. Apart from a minor error in Scottish Presbyterian punctilio (‘Trans.’ in the Fasti means ‘translated,’ not ‘transported’), two criticisms can be addressed. First, while DeYoung does well to acknowledge the issues and complexity surrounding Witherspoon the American enslaver, it merits further comment from a theological angle. How does a ‘Reformed apologist’ participate in something like chattel slavery? How do we explain it honestly and contextually without explaining it away? http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scottish Church History Edinburgh University Press

Stewart J. Brown, W. T. Stead: Nonconformist and Newspaper Prophet

Scottish Church History , Volume 50 (1): 4 – Apr 1, 2021

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2516-6298
eISSN
2516-6301
DOI
10.3366/sch.2021.0048
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

70 REVIEWS studies and challenges previous readings of Witherspoon’s life and legacy as they relate to reason and religion in the eighteenth-century transatlantic world. DeYoung succeeds at establishing Witherspoon as an influential figure in the realm of international Calvinism and showing the ways in which his Reformed identity underpinned his life’s work. Beyond this, the book is also well-written. The engaging and descriptive prose carries the narrative forward and keeps the thesis in view without stultifying repetition. DeYoung also exhibits a mastery of the literature, particularly the recent and relevant work of Gideon Mailer. He also humanises and contextualises Witherspoon, rather than defaulting to the all-too-common one-dimensional relation of events, facts, and dates. We see a minister, churchman, and statesman with emotional and relational complexities interwoven into his daily work. Apart from a minor error in Scottish Presbyterian punctilio (‘Trans.’ in the Fasti means ‘translated,’ not ‘transported’), two criticisms can be addressed. First, while DeYoung does well to acknowledge the issues and complexity surrounding Witherspoon the American enslaver, it merits further comment from a theological angle. How does a ‘Reformed apologist’ participate in something like chattel slavery? How do we explain it honestly and contextually without explaining it away?

Journal

Scottish Church HistoryEdinburgh University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2021

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