Why Crawford Gribben is Holier than I

He has read much more John Owen than I and in the introduction to his recent book, John Owen and English Puritanism, he explains that one of the ways to mortify sin is to read Owen:

My own sense in preparing this book is that biography is an especially demanding medium that continually refuses to permit intellectual shortcuts: at times, when I was overwhelmed by the demands of reading Owen’s millions of words in their very different contexts, I felt that he could not die soon enough. (20)

Sometimes when I read Owen, I think I can’t die soon enough.

So Owen’s affect on Gribben and me is opposite, either to wish the Puritan or the reader dead.

Wait, doesn’t that make me holier?

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4 thoughts on “Why Crawford Gribben is Holier than I

  1. And you should be the first to review this item. Seriously, I can’t buy this book. Why does Gribben want Owen dead?

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  2. Gribben doesn’t want Owen dead. It’s just a lame metaphor implying that the process of writing the biography is like bringing him to life again, finishing it would be like laying him to rest again. I suspect some biographers experience massive ambivalence about their subjects in the end. Yet there is a special poignancy here because it’s John Owen who could have loved and respected his readers far better than he did. Owen had the prime example in John Calvin on how to respect and love his readers. Question: is virtue and holiness synonymous in Owen’s writings? I guess I lacked the ascetic virtue to survive more than a few volumes of Owen. Then again can’t expect much more from a social worker.

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  3. dgh says Sometimes when I read Owen, I think I can’t die soon enough.
    Old Life @oldlife “To commit suicide in Buffalo would be redundant.” — Mark Twain

    !

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