James Duchal

(1699—1761) non-subscribing Presbyterian minister

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James Duchal was born in the north of Ireland and died in Dublin on 4 May 1761. Having received his initial philosophical training within Ulster Presbyterianism, he transferred to the final year (natural philosophy) class at Glasgow University in 1709–10. This casts doubt on the date traditionally assigned for his birth (1697). After completing the arts course he deferred his graduation until 1726, but had probably stayed at Glasgow to train for the Presbyterian ministry. After being licensed at Antrim (1719) he accepted a pastorate in Cambridge in 1721, side-stepping the controversy then current in Ulster over subscription to the Westminster Confession. Consistently Arminian in theology, Duchal had early in his training come under the influence of John Abernethy and in later life twice succeeded him – at Antrim (1730) and Dublin (1741). Two pamphlets issued soon after his settlement at Antrim, which were aimed at bridging the gulf between subscribers and non-subscribers by appeal to a common rationality, failed. His other publications, though in the form of sermons, were mostly essays in moral theology and pneumatology.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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