Chapter

The Olney Autobiographers: Conversion Narrative The Olney Autobiographers: Conversion Narrative and Personality

D. Bruce Hindmarsh

in The Evangelical Conversion Narrative

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199245758
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602436 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245754.003.0009
The Olney Autobiographers: Conversion Narrative The Olney Autobiographers: Conversion Narrative and Personality

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Picks up the story of conversion narrative among evangelical Anglicans through a close reading of three case studies. Associated with the town of Olney, John Newton, William Cowper, and Thomas Scott lived near one another in the north-eastern corner of Buckinghamshire, where Newton and Scott were clergymen in the Church of England, and Cowper was a local gentleman-poet living on patronage. Like most evangelical Anglicans, they were moderate Calvinists when they wrote their narratives in the 1760s and 1770s, and the Calvinistic order of salvation provided a model for their self-understanding. However, in their autobiographies we find a vivid display of personality that appears not despite the presence of a model, but because of it. Within a similar theological framework, Newton interpreted his life typologically, Scott intellectually, and Cowper psychologically—each offering a unique expression of personal adherence to a common gospel.

Keywords: conversion; evangelical Anglican; John Newton; moderate Calvinist or Calvinism; Olney; personality; Thomas Scott; William Cowper

Chapter.  12922 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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