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An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian Vision for Every Stage of Life (Gribben)

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More than three centuries after his death, Puritan theologian John Owen continues to have an impact on readers. In his eight million published words, he addressed a wide range of topics, from theological and biblical commentary to social and political issues. In this survey of Owen’s life and work, Crawford Gribben captures the vision of the Christian life that Owen himself lived out—and hoped his readers would live out as well.

Table of Contents:

  1. Childhood
  2. Youth
  3. Middle Age
  4. Death and Eternal Life

Appendix: Prayers for Children from John Owen, The Primer (1652)



Crawford Gribben (PhD, University of Strathclyde) is professor of early modern British history at Queen’s University Belfast, and previously served as associate professor of early-modern print culture at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. 



“In the relatively brief compass of this fresh approach to the core intellectual ideas of John Owen, Crawford Gribben has written what amounts to a must-read work about the mentalité of this theological colossus. A fabulous achievement!”

-Michael A. G. HaykinChair and Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Studying John Owen’s life and theology is like visiting a vast food buffet—delicious but overwhelming, resulting in satisfaction but also a sense that one missed quite a lot. Crawford Gribben serves up a sampler plate with an engaging blend of biography and doctrine flavored with the pervasive sauce of Owen’s view of godliness and spiced with Gribben’s own interpretation of Owen’s story. This book is a helpful introduction to one of the greatest theologians our world has known and a healthy enticement to feed on Owen’s writings for a lifetime.”

-Joel R. BeekePresident and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; author, Reformed Preaching; coauthor, Reformed Systematic Theology

“Crawford Gribben draws on expertise gathered over years of work on John Owen to paint a picture that is both deeply scholarly and extremely readable. Looking at different stages of human life through the prism of Owen’s personal experience and theological writings, the book gives a striking new perspective on this significant Reformed theologian. It’s an excellent introduction to Owen.”

-Susan Hardman MooreProfessor of Early Modern Religion, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh; author, Pilgrims: New World Settlers and the Call of Home

“John Owen is one of the most remarkable figures to emerge out of seventeenth-century England. His writings span a wide range of topics, from Trinitarian theology and religious toleration to educational reform and personal piety. While recent scholarship has helped us reevaluate Owen in significant ways, a one-dimensional portrait of the Puritan often emerges, whether as a timeless theologian or as an outdated historical figure. Crawford Gribben’s book excels at situating Owen’s theology in the times in which he wrote. The result is not only a stimulating exercise in biographical theology but also a compelling vision of the Christian life. For those wanting to get to know Owen the man as well as Owen the theologian, this book is the best place to start.”

-John W. TweeddaleAcademic Dean and Professor of Theology, Reformation Bible College; author, John Owen and Hebrews

“This is a beautifully written book. It is accessible and uplifting, blending the highest scholarship with deep devotion. Gribben presents John Owen in a fresh new light. It has something for those who are new to Owen as well as for those who have read him for a lifetime. Gribben’s introduction is an essential, life-giving guide to a great man whose influence is still with us.”

-Tim CooperAssociate Professor of Church History, University of Otago, New Zealand; author, John Owen, Richard Baxter, and the Formation of Nonconformity