Online Encyclopedia

HENRY DODWELL (1641-1711)

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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 374 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HENRY DODWELL (1641-1711), scholar, theologian and controversial writer, was born at Dublin in October, 1.641. His father, having lost his property in Connaught during the rebellion, settled at York in 1648. Here Henry received his preliminary education at the free school. In 1654 he was sent by his uncle to Trinity College, Dublin, of which he subsequently became scholar and fellow. Having conscientious objections to taking orders he relinquished his fellowship in 1666, but in 1688 he was elected Camden professor of, history at Oxford, In 1691 he was deprived of his professorship for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary. Retiring to Shottesbrooke in Berkshire, and living on the produce of a small estate in Ireland, he devoted himself to the study of chronology and ecclesiastical polity. Gibbon speaks of his learning as " immense," and says that his " skill in employing facts is equal to his learning," ` although he severely criticizes his method and style. Dodwell's works on ecclesiastical polity are more numerous and of much less value than those on chronology, his judgment being far inferior to his power of research. In his earlier writings he was regarded as one of the greatest champions of the non-jurors; but the doctrine which he afterwards promulgated, that the soul is naturally mortal, and that immortality could be enjoyed only by those who had received baptism from the hands of one set of regularly ordained clergy,' and was therefore a privilege from , which dissenters were hopelessly excluded, did not strengthen his reputation. Dodwell died at Shottesbrooke on the 7th of June 1711. His chief works on classical chronology are: A Discourse concerning Sanchoniathon's Phoenician History (1681) ; Annales Thucydidei et Xenophontei (1702); Chronologia Graeco-Romana pro hypothesibus Dion. Halicarnassei (1692); Annales Velleiani, Quiniilianei, Statiani (1698); and 'a larger treatise entitled De veteribus Graecorum Romanorumque'Cyclis (1701). His eldest son Henry (d. 1784) is known as the author of a pamphlet entitled Christianity not founded on Argument, to which a reply was published by his brother William (1709-1785), who was besides engaged in a controversy with Dr Conyers Middleton on the subject of miracles. See The Works of H. D. . . abridg'd with an account of his life, by F. Brokesby (2nd ed., 1723) and Thomas Hearne's Diaries.
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