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Cruden's Concordance to the Bible---a combinations index, dictionary, and analysis of the Bible---was a monumental achievement; at 2.5 million words, it is four times the length of the Bible itself, and in nearly 300 years it has never been superseded. Yet Alexander Cruden is remembered today not so much for this monumental work as for the widespread belief that he was mad.
Born in Scotland in 1699, Cruden spent much of his early life in and out of asylums. Just weeks after completing his Concordance, he was back in the madhouse---abducted by a rival jealous for the affections of a rich widow---and committed to a private asylum. Each time he took his persecutors to court; each time his case failed because, for different reasons, he refused to explain the circumstances of his original incarceration.
Subsequent generations accepted the diagnosis of Cruden as insane, but Julia Keay has at last revealed the true, but not less tragic, story behind his alleged madness. At times harrowing, at times richly comic, Alexander the Corrector restores the reputations of a misunderstood genius.
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