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Essential Teachings
of Ethan Allen

In the state of Vermont, the name of Ethan Allen is so popular that it is used to denote everything from a furniture company to a large military firing range. The name of his band of soldiers, the Green Mountain Boys, is used for the state's air national guard corps.

Although his name is ubiquitous, the man who made it legendary is still somewhat mysterious. Who was Ethan Allen?  To answer this, I made a short pilgrimage to his gravesite in Burlington, Vermont.

He is remembered as a charismatic man of action, but he had an introspective side of his character which deepens the mystery of the man. After he was set free from prison, he sought todevote himself to philosophic pursuits. Above all, he wanted to complete and publish his monumental work, Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, which he had begun years before when studying with Dr.Thomas Young in Connecticut. The question of how muchof the work should really be credited to Dr. Young is debatable. Ethan claims not to have read any of the Deistical authors such as Charles Blount or John Tolland, but it is likely that he absorbed their views through conversations with his mentor. I think it is fair to say that it started as a collaboration, but it was left to Ethan to finish it after Dr. Young's death. He put his stamp on it.

The story of how the book came to be and how it has survived is a wonder by itself. Ethan could not find a publisher for his anti-clerical tome of five hundred pages in length. This is not surprising. He ended up by going into debt to self-publish the work through a printer in Bennington in 1784. Many of the original copies were soon lost in a fire. The remaining copies were enough to outrage many of the people who read it. It is probable that many of those who were scandalized by the book never actually took the time to read it.



Listen to a Talk with Pastoral Care Students
By J.Michael McKnight on March 8, 2005.

Total time- 1 hour 15 minutes
we have split the talk into 4 mp3 files. right click and select "save target as" to save the desired file.

file 1 (19 MB)

file 2 (20 MB)

file 3 (18 MB)

file 4 (13 MB)


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