Monday, May 10, 2004

Cruden of Concordance Fame

The first concordance of the Bible I bought, while still at school, was by Cruden. I was told the legend: he was a madman who channelled his madness into the production of the first ever concordance of the Bible. It turns out that the truth is even more interesting. A new book by Julia Keay looks at Alexander the Corrector and it has an enthusiastic review in The Independent:

Alexander the Corrector, by Julia Keay
Trials and triumph of a pedant in Bedlam
By Jonathan Sale
In this excellent biography, Julia Keay tells the extraordinary story of the Scottish scholar who, on the point of being ordained, was incarcerated on grounds of insanity. Cruden's reputation for madness survives in, for example, his entry in my copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. However, Keay presents evidence that he was not mad, but put away by a powerful Aberdeen family to silence him. He had discovered that a girl whom he was unsuccessfully courting was pregnant by her own brother. Later, the incestuous lady set herself up as the "wife" of another brother.

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