Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare (14 September 1856 – 9 January 1924) was a British orientalist, Fellow of University College, Oxford, and Professor of Theology at the University of Oxford.
Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare was a British orientalist, Fellow of University College, Oxford, and Professor of Theology at the University of Oxford. He took an interest in the Order of Corporate Reunion, an Old Catholic organization, becoming a Bishop in it in 1894. Also in the 1890s he wrote a book on the Dreyfus case, as a Dreyfusard, and translated the Testament of Solomon and other early Christian texts. As well, he did influential work on Barlaam and Josaphat. He was an authority on the Armenian Church.
He from 1904 to 1915 was a member of the Rationalist Press Association of freethinkers, founded in 1899. These multiple associations make his position on Christianity harder to discern.
One of his best-known works is Myth, Magic, and Morals from 1909, later reissued under the title The Origins of Christianity. This has been read both as strong criticism of the Jesus myth theory, making Conybeare a supporter of the historical Jesus; but also as an attack on aspects of Christianity itself. He returned later in 1914 to make a direct assault on leading proponents of the time of the Jesus-myth theory.
He died in 1924 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London. His wife Mary Emily was a translator of Wilhelm Scherer. The distinguished physician Sir John Josias Conybeare (1888-1967) was his son.
Works by F.C. Conybeare
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Koine Greek. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, but it uses a slightly different version of Greek than the New Testament. This grammar book by Frederik Conybeare explains these differences so that a scholar of the Septuagint may understand the particulars of the translation. Reviewers hail this book as an excellent authority on the subject, but note that, as it was written in 1905, the text is a bit out of date. Helpful nevertheless, this grammar book is designed for students who have knowledge of both Koine and Classical Greek. It is not recommended as a primary text for learning Greek grammar, but carries out its own purpose well. With an explanation of nouns, verbs, and syntax, Grammar of Septuagint Greek is a unique and useful text.
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