New Edition of Ruth's Recompence

A new edition of Ruth's Recompence can be found here. We note

This thesis consists of annotations and an introduction which constitute an edition of Richard Bernard’s Ruths Recompence (1628). This edition aims to provide a more modern and accurate (though clarified) text than the nineteenth-century edition edited by Alexander Balloch Grosart (1865). It also sets out to offer a more comprehensive interpretation with an emphasis on a subject prominent in Bernard’s commentary passed over in silence by Grosart, that is, the issues relating to women’s conduct raised by Ruth’s approach to Boaz alone by night in Ruth chapter 3. The text of this edition has been produced by applying Optical Character Recognition to a copy of the 1628 edition in my possession. In presenting the text, an editorial policy has been consistently followed, which is described in the Textual Introduction. The main objective is to reproduce the original as closely as possible at the same time as making the work accessible to the modern reader. In the early modern period much was written about women’s conduct and how they ought to behave. Ruths Recompence provides a specifically puritan perspective on this issue. In the introduction, various kinds of literature about women in the early modern period, such as conduct books and lives of women, are surveyed in order to show the context in which Bernard addressed the conduct of Ruth and Naomi. The editorial framework also analyses Bernard’s developing and to some extent censorious evaluation of the women’s behaviour. Another subject relating to women’s conduct addressed, chiefly in the introduction, is breast-feeding. Bernard’s views are related to those expressed by the preceding commentator on Ruth, Edward Topsell, and by a contemporary woman – the Countess of Lincoln. The editorial framework draws on the work of commentators on Ruth preceding Bernard, in the ancient and medieval as well as the early modern periods. This reference to previous commentators is a significant part of the edition because it shows where Bernard’s views are original. In the introduction biographical information about Bernard himself, in particular, and also the earlier commentators is provided. A tradition of commentaries on Ruth is thus depicted. It is argued that Bernard’s significant contribution to this tradition is his application of his own theory of preaching, set out in his The Faithfull Shepheard (first edition 1607), to Ruths Recompence. The present edition interprets various other aspects of the commentary, in particular, those relating to Bernard’s theological position as a puritan clergyman who was involved with separatism early in his career but later published attacks on separatists and conformed uneasily with the Church of England. In the commentary, he criticises Roman Catholicism, and expresses views on providence, predestination and the Anabaptists. These subjects are commented on in the editorial framework. Other subjects to which this edition draws the reader’s attention include Bernard’s repeated reference to hierarchy in society and his admiration of the simple, primitive legal system depicted in Ruth. The introduction concludes with a glance at modern feminist scholars’ writing on Ruth. The present edition aspires to make a contribution to feminist interpretations of the early modern period, and it can be recognised that many of the feminist features perceived in the biblical narrative by modern scholars are far from the concerns of Bernard, who was in most respects a typically patriarchal clergyman of his time.

Richard Bernard and His Publics

A PhD thesis on Bernard appeared in 2015 Richard Bernard and His Publics: A Puritan Minister as Author. It is by Amy Gant Tan and the thesis was submitted to Vanderbilt University in Nashville. It can be accessed here.



Quotations from Leland Ryken's "Worldly Saints"
Page 2
Christians "may be merry at their work, and merry at their meat" (From the Isle of Man)
Page 93
"common people respect more a preacher's life than his learning"
Page 249
He opposed any interpretation that did not with fundamental certainties. No exposition of any text, therefore, is right which does not "agree with the principles of Religion, the points of Catechism set down in the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the doctrine of Sacraments." (From Faithful Shepherd)
Page 251
To refuse to work is "contrary to God's injunction that men should labour, contrary to the practice of all the godly ... Let him or they whosoever, which think themselves religious indeed, make conscience to take pains in some calling and beware of living idly." (From Ruth's Recompense)


Quotation Psalms

"there is no condition of any in prosperity or adversity, peace or wars, health or sickness, inward or outward distress, with many particular causes in all these kinds, but he shall find some Psalms, which he may think almost to have been composed upon his own occasion"
From Preface to the Reader, David[']s Music[k]


Publications 30

Title: Thesaurus Biblicus seu Promptuarium sacrum Whereunto are added all the marginall readings, with the words of the text, and many words in the text expounded by the text, all alphabetically set downe throughout the Bible. In the end is annexed an abstract of the principal matters in the Holy Scripture. By Richard Bernard, late rector of Batcombe. See the contents and use of all, in the Epistle to the reader. Imprint: Imprinted at London: by Felix Kingston, for Andrew Crooke at the Signe of the Greene-Dragon in Paules Church-Yard, 1644. Date: 1644 Pages: [492] p
Copy from: Newberry Library
Notes: Frontis. portrait (A1v) of the author signed: W: Hollar Bohem, ad viuum del: Londini. Ie Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677). Signatures: A-2S6. Leaf 2S6 is blank. Another edition appeared the same year and also in 1661. The wiork contains a five page introduction by Bernard himself which is preceded by a three page one by John Conant (1586-1653). He was (from 1619) the rector of Lymington in Somerset.

Publications 29

Title: Certaine positions seriously to bee considered of shewing the danger of doing any thing in and about the worship of God that hath not warrant from his written word ... / written by Mr. Richard Barnard.
Imprint: [London]: Printed for Giles Calvert, 1644.
Date: 1644
Pages: 38 p
Copy from: National Library of Scotland
Notes: Imperfect: Text begins with p 17

Publications 28

Title: The Bibles abstract and epitome the capitall heads, examples, sentences, and precepts of all the principall matters in theologie: collected together for the most part alphabetically, with the doctrine and uses compendiously explained of all the chiefe points therein contayned: taken out of the best moderne divines, both reverend and learned/pro Richardo Barnardo.
Imprint: London: by G. M. for Andrew Crooke, 1642.
Date: 1642
Pages: 176, [2] p
Copy from: Henry E Huntington Library and Art Gallery
Notes: Includes index