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Title: The Thought of Philip Doddridge in the Context of Early Eighteenth-Century Dissent
Author(s): Strivens, Robert P. B.
Supervisor(s): Bebbington, D. W.
Macleod, E. V.
Keywords: Doddridge
Samuel Clarke
Issac Watts
Moderate Calvinism
Rational Dissent
Salters Hall
scripture sufficiency
Puritan piety
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Philip Doddridge (1702-51) was pastor of the Independent congregation meeting at Castle Hill, Northampton, and tutor of the Northampton academy from 1729 to his death in 1751. He is regarded as a leader of moderate Dissent during that period and the heir, theologically and pastorally, of Richard Baxter. He has been seen as forming a bridge between the more rational Dissenters, on the one hand, and the more conservative and orthodox wing of Dissent on the other. His thought has not, however, been the subject of a detailed analysis in the context of his time. This thesis sets out to conduct such an analysis in order to examine more closely his position within early eighteenth-century Dissent. Doddridge’s philosophical and theological views are considered in chapters two to five. Chapter two assesses the extent of his indebtedness to the philosophy of John Locke, examining also the views of Isaac Watts and showing how Doddridge and Watts modified Locke’s thought in some areas in order to accommodate Christian beliefs. In chapter three, Doddridge’s views on natural theology, natural law and reason are considered and the influence on him of Samuel Clarke, in particular, is examined. Turning to theology, chapter four looks at the use in early eighteenth-century Dissent of terms such as ‘Baxterian’ and ‘moderate Calvinist’ and then considers Doddridge’s doctrinal positions on a range of subjects which are generally considered to represent Baxterian theology. Chapter five examines Doddridge’s views on the key interconnected areas of confessional subscription, scripture and the doctrine of the Trinity. Practical subjects are then considered in chapters six to eight. Doddridge’s views on Christian piety are examined in chapter six. Chapter seven considers ways in which Doddridge sought to communicate, examining the audiences whom he aimed to reach, the ways in which he attempted to reach them and the content of what he wanted to say. The eighth chapter looks at the subject of identity and argues that Doddridge is to be viewed, not so much as a bridge between different wings of Dissent, but as a leader amongst moderate Calvinists. In conclusion, this thesis argues that Philip Doddridge sought to expound a Calvinist theology in the context of the philosophical and theological debates of his day and to promote an ordered Dissent focused on central evangelical truths and united around the language of scripture.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Department of History

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