Captaining Men's Souls: Richard Hakluyt's Ministerial Works

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Richard Hakluyt, author of the major geographic compendium The Principal Navigations (1589; 1598–1600) spent much of his life in service to the English church, describing himself late in his career as ‘one publikely and anciently devoted to God's service’. Despite this, his religious profession has often been viewed within scholarship as secondary to his geographic work, and the apparent absence of any explicitly religious writings has made the details of his own beliefs difficult to ascertain. This article sheds fresh light on both Hakluyt's religious beliefs and their importance to his geographic works through analysis of previously unexamined manuscript notes form the early 1580s. These notes cover a lecture focusing on the third article and a sermon exhorting the need for ministerial vocations, both given by Hakluyt while at the University of Oxford, and offer insight into his religious beliefs. The analysis offered in this article demonstrates the integral importance of religion to Hakluyt's geographic work while simultaneously locating him within a wide continental network of theologians and writers to reassess the impact and reach of his ministerial role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-110
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Society for Renaissance Studies
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

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