Monday, 6 August 2012

Who is Philip Doddridge?

One of the most important early evangelicals has been almost entirely forgotten. His name is Philip Doddridge. I realized this black hole of scholarship while looking for a biography on Doddridge so that I could write a brief introduction to his Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (1745).

It seems that the best work done on Doddridge was years ago by Geoffrey Nuttall, who recognized Doddridge's significance. Among his books, Nuttall published Philip Doddridge: 1701-52: His Contribution to English Religion (1951), Philip Doddridge and the Netherlands (1987), co-edited by Nuttall and J. Berg, and a collection of Doddridge's letters in 1979. More recently, there have been mostly popular books on Doddridge, including Malcolm Deacon's Philip Doddridge of Northampton, 1702-51 (1980) and Alan Clifford's The Good Doctor: Philip Doddridge of Northampton (2002). What looks like an important book on Doddridge's hymns has recently been edited by Graham Ashworth and published by Reformation Heritage Books. As thankful as I am for these resources, there should be a lot more published on Doddridge, given his importance.

Doddridge was arguably the most significant Dissenter of the eighteenth century. His books, especially his Rise and Progress, were read by nearly every notable evangelical at that time. He trained future ministers at his highly acclaimed Academy at Northampton, tolerated religions other than his own, and read widely on the subjects of philosophy and religion.

All this to say: will someone please write a critical biography of Doddridge with a university press!!??

No comments: