‘Precept upon precept’: biblical commonplacing in Lucy Hutchinson’s Memoirs

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In the account of her husband, John’s, final days, Lucy Hutchinson depicts him as a Mosaic figure, dedicated to biblical reading and shown the ‘patterne of [God’s] glorious tabernacle’. This article explores Hutchinson’s record of John’s scriptural study: her list of over seven hundred proofs taken from his Bible and noted in the back of the Memoirs manuscript. Offering the first full study of these notes and their relationship to the biographical account of John’s life, I argue for the importance of understanding them as an intrinsic part of the Memoirs project. Furthermore, this article explores how the curation of these notes has transformed them from an inert list of commonplaces – a straightforward record of John’s scriptural reading – into doctrinal ‘precepts’ designed to preserve the Hutchinson family’s theological independence and codify ecclesiastical practices which resist the authority of the Church of England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-424
JournalThe Seventeenth Century
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023

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