GEDDES,: ged'ez, ALEXANDER: Scottish Roman Catholic; b. near Rathven (50 m. n.w. of Aberdeen), Banffshire, Sept. 14, 1737; d. in London Feb. 26, 1802. He studied at the Roman Catholic seminary at Scalan (1751-58) and at the Scotch College in Paris (1758-64). On his return to Scotland he officiated as priest in the region of Angus. In 1765 he became chaplain to the earl of Traquair, and in 1769 pastor of the Roman Catholic congregation at Auchinhalrig, but was deprived of his charge in 1779 for attending a Presbyterian service. In 1780 he settled in London, where he devoted himself almost entirely to authorship, preaching only occasionally. He published several volumes of verse, including a translation of the first book of Homer's Iliad (London, 1792), but his chief works are his translation of the Old Testament (2 vols., London, 1792-97), complete through Chronicles; and his Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures (1800). He adopted the German method of rationalizing the Biblical narrative, thereby incurring the displeasure of both Protestants and Roman Catholics. In 1800 he was suspended from all ecclesiastical functions, and his translation of the Bible was prohibited to the faithful. His unfinished translation of the Psalms was edited by John Disney and Charles Butler and completed from Geddes' corrections in Bishop Wilson's Bible (London, 1807). When Geddes died, mass was prohibited over his remains. It was his misfortune to be in advance of his time, and he lacked tact in presenting his views; in some points he anticipated modern scholarship, and many of his critical remarks are excellent.

Bibliography: J. M. Good. Memoirs of his Life and Writings, London, 1803; T. K. Cheyne, Founders of Old Testament Criticism, pp. 4-11, New York, 1893; C. A. Briggs. Study of Holy Scripture, p. 282, New York, 1899, DNB, xxi. 98-101 (where scattered notices are indicated).

GEDDES, JENNY: According to the popular story, a Scottish "herb-woman" who instigated a riot in St. Giles's Church, Edinburgh, on Sunday, July 23, 1637. Archbishop Laud was trying to introduce the English liturgy into Scotland, and the attempt raised a storm of indignation. The dean of Edinburgh, however, made the experiment in the Cathedral Church of St. Giles, on the Sunday named, in the presence of the privy council and the city magistrates. According to the usual story, Jenny Geddes, hearing the archbishop direct the dean in finding the collect for the day, exclaimed in indignation, " Villain, dost thou say mass at my lug? " (ear), and hurled the stool upon which she had been sitting at the dean's head. This was the signal for a riot in and about the cathedral. The people shouted through the streets, " A pope, a popel Antichristl the sword of the Lord and of Gideonl " and the ultimate result was the withdrawal of the liturgy, since the outburst of popular feeling was by no means confined to Edinburgh. According to other accounts it was a woman named either Mein or Hamilton who threw the stool. The maiden name of Mrs. Mein or Mrs. Hamilton may have been Geddes, although the popular account represents Jenny Geddes as an old woman. Both Mrs. Mein and Mrs. Hamilton, moreover, are described as women of a social status far above that of Jenny Geddes. A herb-woman of the same name is said to have given her stall to be burned in a bonfire at the rejoicings in honor of the coronation of Charles II. Other accounts of the riot of 1637 state that the name of the woman who threw the stool was not known. A folding stool, the very one used by Jenny Geddes, it is said, is exhibited in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.

Bibliography: J. H. Burton, Hist. of Scotland, vi. 150-152, 8 vols., London, 1873; Schaff, Creeds, i. 88; DNB, xxi. 102.


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