Dodwell, Henry

Dodwell, Henry an eminent nonjuror, critic, and theologian, was born at Dublin in 1641, and was educated at the York Free School and at Trinity College, where he obtained a fellowship, which he relinquished in 1666. He was chosen Camden professor at Oxford in 1688; but, being a nonjuror, he lost his office at the Revolution. Dodwell was a learned and a virtuous man, but addicted to paradoxes, and was so much an ascetic that during three days in the week he refrained almost wholly from food. He was a man of great obstinacy, unwearied industry, and prodigious learning. But his intellect was neither vigorous nor comprehensive. "Many of his publications were on the popish and nonconformist controversies: they have the reputation of showing, like everything else he wrote, extensive and minute learning, and great skill in the application of his scholarship, but little judgment of a larger kind. Few, if any, of the champions of the Church of England have strained the pretensions of that establishment so far as Dodwell seems to have done; but his whole life attested the perfect conscientiousness and disregard of personal consequences under which he wrote and acted" (English Cyclopaedia, s.v.). On leaving Oxford he retired to Cookham, Berkshire, and soon after to Shottesbrooke, where he spent the rest of his days. He possessed an estate in Ireland, but allowed a relation to enjoy the principal part of the rent, only reserving a moderate maintenance for himself. His relative at length began to grumble at the subtraction even of this pittance, and on that Dodwell resumed his property, and married. He took this step in his fifty-second year, and lived to see himself the father of ten children. The works for which he is now chiefly remembered were also all produced in the latter part of his life. Among these are his Dissertationes Cyprianicae (n. d. fol.): — Dissert. in Irenaeum (Oxon. 1689): — Scripture Account of Rewards and Punishments (Lond. 1708, 8vo): — Dissertations and Annotations on the Greek Geographers, published in Hudson's Geographix Veteris Scriptores Graeci Minores (Oxon. 1698, 1703, and 1712): — Annales Thucydidei et Xenophontei (1696): — Chronol. Graeco-Romano (1692); and Annales Velleiani, Quintiliani, Statiani (1698). These several chronological essays, which are drawn up with great ability, have all been repeatedly reprinted. Dodwell's principal work is considered to be his De Veteribus Graecorum Romanorumque Cyclis, Obiterque de Cyclo Judaeorum ac AEtate Christi Dissertationes (Oxon. 1701, 4to). He also published in 8vo, in 1706, An epistolary Discourse, proving from the Scriptures and the first Fathers that the Soul is a Principle naturally mortal, but immortalized actually by the pleasure of God, to punishment or to reward, by its union with the divine baptismal spirit; where it is proved that none have the power of giving this divine immortalizing spirit since the apostles, but only the bishops. "This attempt to make out for the bishops the new power of conferring immortality raised no small outcry against the writer, and staggered many even of those who had not seen any extravagance in his former polemical lucubrations. Of course it gave great offense to the Dissenters, all of whose souls it unceremoniously shut out from a future existence on any terms. Dodwell died at Shottesbrooke June 7, 1711" (English Cyclopedia). See Dodwell's Works abridged, with his Life, by Brokesby (Lond. 1723, 2 volumes, 8vo, 2d ed.); Kippis, Biographia Britannica, 5:320 sq.; Allibone, Dictionary of Authors 1:511; Orme, Life of Baxter, volume 2, chapter 8.

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