Henry Stubbe

Henry Stubbe books and biography


Henry Stubbes

Henry Stubbes or Stubbe (born 1631, Lincolnshire, died 1676, Bristol), writer and scholar. Given patronage as a child by the Puritan, Henry Vane the Younger, he obtained a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1653. This being the time of the English Civil War, he fought for Oliver Cromwell from then until 1655.

He was appointed second keeper to the Bodleian Library, but in 1659 his friendship with Henry Vane led to his being removed from this employment. His A Light Shining Out Of Darkness did not help, being seen as an attack on the Clergy.

He became a physician in Stratford-upon-Avon, and after the Restoration (see English Restoration) was confirmed in the Church of England. He became Royal Physician and travelled to Jamaica. The Jamaican climate disagreeing with him, he returned to England in 1665. He developed medical practices in both Bath and Warwick.

In 1673 he wrote against the Duke of York (later James II of England) and Mary of Modena in the Paris Gazette. He was arrested and threatened with hanging. It is probably about this time that he wrote An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism, and a Vindication of him and his Religion from the Calumnies of the Christians. He was unable to publish this book, considered the first work in English sympathetic to Islamic Theology, in which he tried to demonstrate the similarity between the beliefs of Islam and Unitarian Christianity. The book, now conclusively attributed to Stubbe, is remarkable for the genuine understanding of Islam shown by the author, all the more remarkable in an age when most works on Islam were deeply polemical and inaccurate. However, Stubbe can also be seen as part of a growing tradition at this time which expressed a dissatisfaction with the intellectual inconsistencies of trinitarianism and sought to discover the original unitarian roots of the Christian tradition in the middle east.

Following the restoration he also wrote polemical pieces against the Royal Society which have been interpreted as showing a change in his political and religious views. Recent scholarship however suggests that the main theme in his life is continuity and his attacks on the Royal Society are a part of his veiled attack on the clerical and monarchical powers, of which the Royal Society was seen to be supportive.

His diverse interests and sense of genuine intellectual breadth are revealed in his authorship of a book celebrating chocolate, which he refers to as the Indian nectar, and in which he criticised those who refused it on puritanical grounds. He drowned in an accident in Bristol and was buried in Bath.

Stubbes was considered by Anthony Wood to be the most noted Latin and Greek scholar of his age, as well as a great mathematician and historian.


  • Vindication of that Prudent and Honourable Knight Sir Henry Vane (1659)
  • A Light Shining Out Of Darkness (1659)
  • The Indian nectar, or, A discourse concerning chocolate (1662)
  • A Justification of the Present War against the United Netherlands (1672)
  • An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism,and a Vindication of him and his Religion from the Calumnies of the Christians (1674?)


  • Holt, P.M. (1972). A seventeenth-century defender of Islam: Henry Stubbe (1632-76) and his book. Dr Williams's Trust. ISBN 0-85217-031-9. 
  • Jacob, James R (2002). Henry Stubbe, radical Protestantism and the early Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52016-9. 

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Rise And Progress Of Mahometanism 1911

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