JOWETT, jau'et, BENJAMIN: English educator and author; b. in the parish of Camberwell, London, Apr. 15, 1817; d. at Headley Park, Liphook (22 m. e. of Winchester), Hampshire, Oct. 1, 1893. He studied at St. Paul's School, London, and at Balliol College, Oxford (B.A., 1839; M.A., 1842), where he was elected fellow in 1838. In 1837 he won the Hertford university scholarship for Latin, and in 1841 the chancellor's prize for the Latin essay. He was ordained deacon in 1842, priest in 1845. In 1842 he was appointed to a tutorship at Balliol, which he held till he became master of the college in 1870. He was public examiner in classics 1849-51, and 1853. At Oxford he had fallen into the very midst of the Tractarian movement, and his Evangelical views were shaken by daily intercourse with his friend William George Ward (q.v.). In after years he said, "But for the providence of God, I might have became a Roman Catholic." A more lasting influence, however, was that of A. P. Stanley, the leader of the Broad Church school, with whom Jowett traveled and studied in Germany in the summers of 1845 and 1846. On being defeated for the mastership of Balliol in 1854, Jowett, in his disappointment, took up with renewed energy a work that he and Stanley had projected on St. Paul, and published The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians, arid Romans: with Critical Notes and Dissertations (2 vols., London, 1855). This work brought forth a storm of protest from conservative quarters; and when, in the same year, Jowett was appointed regius professor of Greek at Oxford, those who condemned his views at once began to oppose him. He was denounced to the vice-chancellor, who required him to sign the Articles anew in his presence, Jowett's opponents kept up the agitation against him for ten years, preventing him from receiving the full emoluments
Jowett was an indefatigable worker. For years he made it a rule to see every undergraduate in the college once a week. He spared himself no efforts in tuition. Even as master of Balliol he continued the custom, begun in 1848, of taking a few pupils with him on the summer vacation. After 1866 his authority at Oxford was predominant in matters of university organization. He effected many needed reforms at Oxford, and exerted a large influence over the life and thought of his time. If he formed no school of philosophy or theology, by launching T. H. Green upon the study of Hegel he affected indirectly the whole development of recent speculation in England and America. As early as 1839 he had joined Stanley and Tait in the movement for university reform which led to the Commission of 1850 and the Act of 1854. He also took part in the educational reform which threw open the Indian civil service to competition and was a member of Lord Macaulay's committee, which reported in 1854. He was largely responsible for the University Tests Act of 1871, abolishing.the theological test, which had been required for the various degrees, and for college and university offices.
The literary achievement that made Jowet famous was his translation of Plato's Dialogues (4 vols., London, 1871; 2d ed., 5 vols., 1875), which has become an English classic, and, with the introductory essay to the several dialogues, secures Jowett a permanent place in the history of English literature. He also translated Thucydides (2 vols., 1881), and Aristotle's Politics (2 vols., 1885), and spent many years on an edition of the Greek text of the "Republic" (completed by L. Campbell, 3 vols., Oxford, 1894). Though his work in theology was important, it was rather of a transitional nature. Three volumes of his sermons have been edited by W. H. Fremantle, viz., College Sermons (London, 1895) Sermons, Biographical and Miscellaneous (1899), and Sermons on Faith and Doctrine (1901). Evelyn Abbott and Lewis Campbell have edited his Letters (1899), and the latter a volume of Theological Essays (1906). The famous essay of Essays and Reviews, with the Dissertations from The Epistles of St. Paul and a sketch of Jowett's life by Sir Leslie Stephen from the National Review, 1897, is reprinted in The Interpretation of Scripture and Other Essays (1906) and also in Scripture and Truth, Dissertations, ed. Lewis Campbell (1907). Note also Select Passages from the Theological Writings of B. Jowett, ed. L. Campbell (1909).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Abbott and L. Campbell, Benjamin Jowett: Life and Letters of the Master of Balliol College Oxford, 3 vols., London, 1897-99; L. A. Tollemache, Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, ib. 1895; DNB, Supplement, iii. 49-56.
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