Stone, Samuel. Whole Body of Divinity. Transcription by Samuel Willard.

Edited by Professor Baird Tipson, Gettysburg College

Collection History

Samuel Stone (1602-1663) was born in Hertford, England. A graduate of Emmanuel College (B. A. 1624, M. A 1627), he served as curate in Stisted and then lecturer in Towcester. Arriving in Boston along with John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, Stone was made “Teacher” to the Newtown (soon to become Cambridge) congregation in which Hooker served as “Pastor” on October 11, 1633. In 1636 that congregation relocated to a settlement along the Connecticut River which became known as Hartford after Stone’s birthplace. Probably not completed until after Hooker’s death and never published, Stone’s Whole Body was the first comprehensive theology produced in the American colonies. Arranged as a catechism with questions and answers, it proceeds through all the major topics of Christian theology.

Samuel Willard (1640-1707) was Pastor of Third Church, Boston from 1678 and acting President of Harvard College from 1701 until his death. Probably in preparation for his own Compleat Body of Divinity, published posthumously in 1726, he transcribed Stone’s entire Whole Body and appended an index.

Original in the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston; two incomplete copies of Stone’s manuscript are held by the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.

About Baird Tipson

Baird Tipson served as President of Wittenberg University and Washington College before retiring in 2010; he is presently an Adjunct Professor at Gettysburg College.  His study of Thomas Hooker and his colleague Samuel Stone appeared in 2015 as Hartford Puritanism;  Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and Their Terrifying God.  He received his Ph. D. at Yale where he was a student of Sydney Ahlstrom.

Digital Materials

Samuel Stone, Whole Body of Divinity (PDF). Transcription of Samuel Stone’s manuscript Whole Body of Divinity by Samuel Willard. Largely legible at the outset, Willard’s handwriting becomes smaller and increasingly more difficult to decipher towards the end.