James Aitken Wylie

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The grave of James Aitken Wylie, East Preston Street Burial Ground, Edinburgh

James Aitken Wylie (1808-1890) was a Scottish historian of religion and Presbyterian minister. He was a prolific writer and is most famous for writing The History of Protestantism.


Wylie was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland on 9 August 1808, and his name father, James Aitken, was an Auld Licht Anti-burgher minister in the Original Secession Church. Wylie was educated at Marischal College, University of Aberdeen, where he stayed for three years before studying at St. Andrews under Thomas Chalmers. He followed his name father's example, entering the Original Secession Divinity Hall, Edinburgh in 1827, and was ordained in 1831.

He became sub-editor of the Edinburgh Witness in 1846. In 1852, after joining the Free Church of Scotland, Wylie edited their Free Church Record until 1860.

He published his book The Papacy: its History, Dogmas, Genius, and Prospects in 1851, winning a prize of a hundred guineas from the Evangelical Alliance. The Protestant Institute appointed him Lecturer on Popery in 1860. He continued in this role until his death in 1890, publishing in 1888 his work The Papacy is the Antichrist. He died with his History of the Scottish Nation taken forward to 1286.

Aberdeen University awarded him an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) in 1856.

Wylie's classic work, The History of Protestantism (1878), went out of print in the 1920s, although it was briefly reprinted in Northern Ireland in a two-volume reproduction in the late 20th century. It has received praise from a number of influential figures, including Ian Paisley. The History of Protestantism was also reprinted by Hartland Publications, Rapidan, Virginia, USA in 2002 in four-volumes. ISBN 0-923309-80-2. It has now been re-published, as a 4-volume hardback set, by Reformation Heritage Books.

He died on 1 May 1890 and is buried with his wife, Euphemia Gray (1808-1845) and their children, in East Preston Street Burial Ground, Edinburgh in the eastern part of the south=east section.


  • Wylie, James Aitken. The Seventh Vial, (1848) online ebook
  • Wylie, James Aitken. History of the Waldenses, (1880) ISBN 1-57258-185-9, online ebook
  • Wylie, James Aitken. Rome and civil liberty: or, The papal aggression in its relation to the sovereignty of the Queen and the independence of the nation, (1865), online ebook
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The Awakening of Italy and the Crisis of Rome. Religious Tract Society: London, (1866) Octavo.
  • Wylie, James Aitken. A Popish University for Ireland. The Irish Chief Secretary and the working classes. (1889). pp. 8. 22 cm.
  • Wylie, James Aitken. Character-its paramount influence on the happiness of individuals, and the destinies of society. In : Course. A Course of Lectures to young men ... delivered in Glasgow ... Second Series. Lect. 4. 1842. 12º.
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The Papacy: Its History, Dogmas, Genius, and Prospects — which was awarded a prize by the Evangelical Alliance in 1851.
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The rise, progress, and insidious workings of Jesuitism, (1877), online ebook
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The History of Protestantism (1878). 3 vol. Cassell & Co.: London, 1899. Physical description: 8º. Shelfmark at British Library: 4650.g.2., online ebook
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The History of Protestantism (2018). 3 vol Inheritance Publications, Neerlandia AB Canada / Pella IA USA newly typeset Hard Cover edition http://www.inhpubl.net/ip/refo500.htm
  • Wylie, James Aitken. The History Of The Scottish Nation in 3 volumes (1886) online pdf
  • Wylie, James Aitken. "The Papacy is the Antichrist - A Demonstration" (1888) online pdf

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