February 2, 2012

Jonathan Moore (via Alan Ford) Corrects Carl Trueman's Bad Historiography on James Ussher (1581–1656)

In footnote #31 of his book and doctoral dissertation, Moore writes:
31. Ussher, Works, XII: 567. Carl Trueman concludes from the book Body of Divinitie that Ussher was a rigorous particularist (James Ussher, A Body of Divinitie, or the Summe and Substance of Christian Religion, catechistically propounded, and explained, by way of Question and Answer [London: M. F. for Thomas Downes and George Badger, 1645], p. 173; Carl R. Trueman, The Claims of Truth: John Owen's Trinitarian Theology [Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Press, 1998], p. 200). However, even if the evidence in this book had been compelling, it is not relevant, for Ussher was not in fact its author and was displeased at its publication under his name, even expressing disagreement with some of its content (Ussher, The Judgement, II:23–25; Nicholas Bernard, The Life & Death of the most reverend and learned Father of our Church Dr. James Ussher [London: E. Tyler for John Crook, 1656], pp. 41–42; Samuel Clarke, A general Martyrologie, containing a Collection of all the greatest Persecutions which have befallen the Church of Christ, from the Creation, to our present Times [London: For William Birch, 1677], II:283; Parr, The Life of the most reverend Father in God, James Usher, I:62; Ussher, Works, I:248-50). Breward is another who, on the basis of this book, mistakenly attributes to Perkins a strong influence upon Ussher's thought (Ian Breward, ed., The Work of William Perkins [Abingdon, UK: Sutton Courtenay Press, 1970], p. 102). I am grateful to Alan Ford for clarification on this point.
Jonathan D. Moore, English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007), 178–179.

Note: I am not endorsing Moore's book, as I find it highly disappointing and quite misleading in many areas. He himself engages in bad historiography and uses Protestant Reformed Church categories/methodologies (as he has been associated with them in the past), but his correction of others is of some use to observe. I may eventually post his material that corrects the bad historiography of Thomas Boston (and others, like Lachman) on John Preston's views.

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