A pivot to Paul Dean

I’ve been reading Universalist history for decades, but the details of the Restorationist Controversy (UUDB.org) escaped me. I know the broad strokes, the theological points, the key players and the slogans, mostly from Richard Eddy, but the social, economic and ecclesiologial dimensions weren’t clear until I read Peter Hughes’s two (2000, 2002) essays in The Journal of Unitarian and Universalist History. They’re online here and here respectively (HathiTrust.com) and I highly recommend them.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I read it in jags, breaking to find “where are they now” by which I meant the later careers and legacies of the main figures.

Then I looked for Paul Dean‘s grave. (UUDB.org) I have a soft spot for him, both for being a prominent Trinitarian Universalist, and for his curious ministry in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m also a Restorationist in theology and ethos, as was he. I think I would have liked him.

He is buried in Mt. Auburn like Murray and Ballou, but his grave is unmarked. (FindAGrave.com) That’s when my blood ran cold. Perhaps there’s some unphotographed common Dean marker, but there’s no evidence of it with the other photos. On the other hand, the grand statue of his Boston colleague (FindAGrave.com) and rival makes me think that Ballou has enough attention at the moment. He certainly had his way in life.

I was going to transcribe Hosea Ballou’s work on the parables for Lent, but I think Paul Dean is worth a pivot. He wrote several pamphlets, but only one book — A Course of Lectures in Defence of the Final Restoration (1832)(Archive.org) — and that’s what I’ll be transcribing instead. I hope to have some it ready by his 240th birthday, on March 28.

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