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“…BY THE AUTHOR OF THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN.” AN ANALYSIS OF THE LIFE, LEGACY, AND MEMORY OF RICHARD ALLESTREE, 1619-1714.
This dissertation is the first comprehensive biography and study of Richard Allestree. Allestree was a soldier, spy, professor, theologian, a survivor of the plague (1665) and Great Fire (1666) of London, and supposed author of the best-selling Protestant classic, The Whole Duty of Man (1658). Throughout his life, Allestree attempted to protect those institutions through his voice, vocation, and violence. His work contributes to our understanding of the dilemmas faced by the late seventeenth-century clergy, caught between the secular rationalism of the Enlightenment and the wild enthusiasm of Protestant dissenting groups. Using his positions of power and influence, he sought to make Christianity accessible to “the meanest of reader,” moving away from perceptions of a rigid faith and seeking to make Christianity a vibrant, active belief in the lives of everyday people. This work presents a finalized canon of the works of Richard Allestree using new tools in digital humanities. Implementing statistical analysis from data gathered from his personal library at Christ Church, Oxford, clerical records, and marginalia, this dissertation settles the three hundred- and sixty-five-year dilemma of Allestree’s uncertain authorship.
Paul and Reed Benhamou Graduate Scholarship in History
- Doctor of Philosophy
- West Lafayette