Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


An examination of the writings and career of the English Puritan divine, Richard Baxter, 1615-1691, demonstrates that preconceptions of the nature of English Puritanism must be reassessed. An analysis of the activity, the personality, and the ideology of Richard Baxter is a case in point which indicates the need for this reassessment. Through a discussion of Baxter's spirituality, his doctrinal, ecclesiological, ecumenical, and political writings, both published and unpublished, an enhanced understanding will be afforded of the vitality and coherence of the English Puritans.;Just as Baxter can assist the student of early modern English history in comprehending the nature of English Puritansim, so can a more precise use of the term Puritan enhance an understanding of Baxter. From his own time onwards Baxter has been viewed as a representative Puritan, a designation he did not seriously dispute. When this term is taken to designate a churchmanship which embraced the Protestant heritage of the Church of England a deeper insight can be gained into the life and work of Richard Baxter. Baxter did not accept that Puritanism and the Church of England should be contradictory terms of reference. His career demonstrates that Puritans and the Church of England are more closely related than most historians have dared to imagine.



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