Theological Essays of the Late Benjamin Jowett
by Benjamin Jowett
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Benjamin Jowett lived two lives: one as a churchman, and the other as a philosopher. As
Oxford’s regius professor of Greek, he gave lectures on both Paul’s letters and Plato’s
dialogues. During visits to Continental Europe, Jowett met and studied the works of
prominent German philosophers. He brought Hegelianism back to England with him,
becoming one of Great Britain’s most influential liberal theologians. This edition of
Jowett’s Theological Essays, containing a collection of shorter works as well as
an abridgement of his commentary on the Pauline Epistles, provides readers a gateway
text to the theologian’s thought and work. Controversially, Jowett argued that context and
tradition, as opposed to the actual linguistic content, revealed the meaning of the biblical
text. More conservative theologians feared Jowett’s approach weakened the authority of
Scripture, but others saw it as a way to appreciate it according to its true nature. Similar
debates remain alive and well in the modern church, and Jowett’s work remains all the
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