Oxford University Press
John Owen and English Puritanism
John Owen was a leading theologian in 17th-century England. As vice-chancellor of Oxford University, he was a man of immense intellectual and cultural significance. Through his association with Oliver Cromwell in particular, he exercised considerable influence on central government, and became the premier religious statesman of the Interregnum. The restoration of the monarchy pushed Owen into dissent, criminalizing his religious practice and inspiring his writings in defense of high Calvinism and religious toleration. But Owen transcended his many experiences of defeat, and his claims to quietism were frequently undermined by rumors of his involvement in anti-government conspiracies.
Crawford Gribben's biography documents Owen's interactions with the intellectual and print cultures of his social, political and religious environments; its narrative is structured around Owen's own publications. In contrast to the current scholarly consensus, this book emphasizes Owen's importance as a controversial theologian deeply involved with his social and political environment. Far from personifying the Reformed tradition, he helped to undermine it, offering an individualist account of Christian faith which downplayed the significance of the Church's means of grace. His work contributed to the formation of the new religious movement known as evangelicalism, where his influence still can be seen today.
Crawford Gribben has held positions in early modern studies at the University of Manchester, Trinity College Dublin, and Queen's University Belfast, where he is currently professor of early modern British history. He is the author of several books on the print cultures of Puritanism and evangelicalism.