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BENJAMIN JOWETT (1817-1893)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 529 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BENJAMIN JOWETT (1817-1893), English scholar and theologian, master of Balliol College, Oxford, was born in Camberwell on the 15th of April 1817. His father was one of a Yorkshire family who, for three generations, had been supporters of the Evangelical movement in the Church of England. His mother was a Langhorne, in some way related to the poet and translator of Plutarch. At twelve the boy was placed on the foundation of St Paul's School (then in St Paul's Churchyard), and in his nineteenth year he obtained an open scholarship at Balliol. In 1838 he gained a fellowship, and graduated with first-class honours in 1839. Brought up amongst pious Evangelicals, he came to Oxford at the height of the Tractarian movement, and through the friendship of W. G. Ward was drawn for a time in the direction of High Anglicanism; but a stronger and more lasting influence was that of the Arnold school, represented by A. P. Stanley. Jowett was thus led to concentrate his attention on theology, and in the summers of 1845 and 1846, spent in Germany with Stanley, he became an eager student of German criticism and speculation. Amongst the writings of that period he was most impressed by those of F. C. Baur. But he never ceased to exercise an independent judgment, and his work on St Paul, which appeared in 1855, was the result of much original reflection and inquiry. He was appointed to the Greek professor-ship in the autumn of that year. He had been a tutor of Balliol and a clergyman since 1842, and had devoted himself to the work of tuition with unexampled zeal. His pupils became his friends for life. He discerned their capabilities, studied their characters, and sought to remedy their defects by frank and searching criticism. Like another Socrates, he taught them to know them-selves, repressing vanity, encouraging the despondent, and attaching all alike by his unobtrusive sympathy. This work gradually made a strong impression, and those who cared for Oxford began to speak of him as " the great tutor." As early as 1839 Stanley had joined with Tait, the future archbishop, in advocating certain university reforms. From 1846 onwards Jowett threw himself into this movement, which in 1848 became general amongst the younger and more thoughtful fellows, until it took effect in the commission of 185o and the act of 1854. Another educational reform, the opening of the Indian civil service to competition, took place at the same time, and Jowett was one of the commission. He had two brothers who served and died in India, and he never ceased to take a deep and practical interest in Indian affairs. A great disappointment, his repulse for the mastership of Balliol, also in 1854, appears to have roused him into the completion of his book on The Epistles of St Paul. This work, described by one of his friends as " a miracle of boldness," is full of originality and suggestiveness, but its publication awakened against him a storm of theological prejudice, which new hall (1876), the organ there, entirely his gift (1S35), and the followed him more or less through life. Instead of yielding to cricket ground (1889), remain as external monuments of the this, he joined with Henry Bristowe Wilson and Rowland master's activity. Neither business nor the many claims of Williams, who had been similarly attacked, in the production friendship interrupted literary work. The six or seven weeks of the volume known as Essays and Reviews. This appeared in of the long vacation, during which he had pupils with him, were 186o and gave rise to a strange outbreak of fanaticism. Jowett's mainly employed in writing. The translation of Aristotle's loyalty to those who were prosecuted'on this account was no less Politics, the revision of Plato, and, above all, the translation of characteristic than his persistent silence while the augmentation Thucydides many times revised, occupied several years. The of his salary as Greek professor was withheld. This petty perse- edition of the Republic, undertaken in 1856, remained unfinished, cution was continued until 1865, when E. A. Freeman and Charles but was continued with the help of Professor Lewis Campbell. Elton discovered by historical research that a breach of the con- Other literary schemes of larger scope' and deeper interest were ditions of the professorship had occurred, and Christ Church long in contemplation, but were not destined to take effect—an raised the endowment from £40 a year to £500. Meanwhile Essay on the Religions of the World, a Commentary on the Gospels, jowett's influence at Oxford had steadily increased. It culmi- a Life of Christ, a volume on Moral Ideas. Such plans were nated in 1864, when the country clergy, provoked by the final frustrated, not only by his practical avocations, but by his acquittal of the essayists, had voted in convocation against the determination to finish what he had 'begun, and the fastidious endowment of the Greek chair. Jowett's pupils, who were now self-criticism which it took so long to satisfy. The book on drawn from the university at large, supported him with the Morals might, however, have been written but for the heavy enthusiasm which young men feel for the victim of injustice. burden of the vice-chancellorship, which he was induced to In the midst of other labours Jowett had been quietly exerting accept in 1882, by the hope, only partially fulfilled, of securing his influence so as to conciliate all shades of liberal opinion, and many improvements for the university. The vice-chancellor bring them to bear upon the abolition of the theological test, was ex officio a delegate of the press, where he hoped to effect which was still required for the M.A. and other degrees, and for much; and a plan for draining the Thames Valley, which he had university and college offices. He spoke at an important meeting now the power of initiating, was one on which his mind had dwelt upon this question in London on the loth of June 1864, which laid for many years. The exhausting labours of the vice-chancellor-the ground for the University Tests Act of 1871. In connexion ship were followed by an illness (1887); and after this he relinwith the Greek professorship Jowett had undertaken a work quished the'hope of producing any great original writing. His on Plato which grew into a complete translation of the Dialogues, literary industry was thenceforth confined to his commentary with introductory essays. At this he laboured in vacation time on the Republic of Plato, and some essays on Aristotle which were for at least ten years. But his interest in theology had not to have formed a companion volume to the translation of the abated, and his thoughts found an outlet in occasional preaching. Politics. The essays which should have accompanied the trans-The university pulpit, indeed, was closed to him, but several lation of Thucydides were never written. Jowett, who never congregations in London delighted in his sermons, and from 1866 married, died on the 1st of October 1893. The funeral was one until the year of his death he preached annually in Westminster of the most impressive ever seen in Oxford. The pall-bearers Abbey, where Stanley had become dean in 1863. Three volumes were seven heads of colleges and the provost of Eton, all old of selected sermons have been published since his death. The pupils. years 1865–187o were occupied with assiduous labour. Amongst Theologian, tutor, university reformer, a great master of a his pupils at Balliol were men destined to high positions in the college, Jowett's best claim to the remembrance of succeeding state, whose parents had thus shown their confidence in the generations was his greatness as a moral teacher. Many of the supposed heretic, and gratitude on this account was added to most prominent Englishmen of the day were his pupils and owed other motives for his unsparing efforts in tuition. In 187o, by much of what they were to his precept and example, his penean arrangement which he attributed to his friend Robert Lowe, trative sympathy, his insistent criticism, and his unwearying afterwards Lord Sherbrooke (at that time a member of Glad- friendship. Seldom have ideal aims been so steadily pursued stone's ministry), Scott was promoted to the deanery of Rochester with so clear a recognition of practical limitations. Jpwett's and Jowett was elected to the vacant mastership by the fellows theological work was transitional, and yet has an element of of Balliol. From the vantage-ground of this long-coveted permanence. As has been said of another thinker, he was " one position the Plato was published in 1871. It had a great and of those deeply religious men who, when crude theological well-deserved success. While scholars criticized particular notions are being revised and called in question seek to put new renderings (and there were many small errors to be removed in life into theology by wider and more humane ideas." In earlier subsequent editions), it was generally agreed that he had sue- life he had been a zealous student of Kant and Hegel, and to the ceeded in making Plato an English classic. end he never ceased to cultivate the philosophic spirit; but he If ever there was a beneficent despotism, it was Jowett's rule had little confidence in metaphysical systems, and sought rather as master. Since 1866 his authority in Balliol had been really to translate philosophy into the wisdom of life. As a classical paramount, and various reforms in college had been due to his scholar, his scorn of littlenesses sometimes led him into the initiative. The opposing minority were now powerless, and the neglect of minutiae, but he had the higher merit of interpreting younger fellows who had been his pupils were more inclined to ideas. His place in literature rests really on the essays in his follow him than others would have been. There was no obstacle Plato. When their merits are fully recognized, it will be found to the continued exercise of his firm and reasonable will. He still that his worth, as a teacher of his countrymen, extends far knew the undergraduates individually, and watched their pro- beyond his own generation. gress with a vigilant eye. His influence in the university was See The Life and Letters of Benjamin Jowett, by E. A. Abbott and less assured. The pulpit of St Mary's was no longer closed to Lewis Campbell (1899); Benjamin Jowett, by. Lionel Tollemache him, but the success of Balliol in the schools gave rise to jealousy (1895). (L. C.) in other colleges, and old prejudices did not suddenly give way; JOYEUSE, a small town in the department of Ardeche, France, while a new movement in favour of " the endowment of research " situated on the Baume, a tributary of the Ardeche, is historically ran counter to his immediate purposes. Meanwhile, the tutor- important as having been the seat of a noble French family ships in other colleges, and some of the headships also, were being which derived its name from it. The lordship of Joyeuse came, filled with Balliol men, and Jowett's former pupils were promi- in the 13th century, into the possession of the house of Chateaunent in both houses of parliament and at the bar. He continued neuf-Randon, and . was made into a viscountship in 1432. the practice, which he had commenced in 1848, of taking with Guillaume, viscount of Joyeuse, was bishop of Alet, but after-him a small party of undergraduates in vacation time, and work- wards left the church, and became a marshal of France; he died ing with them in one of his favourite haunts, at Askrigg in in 1592. His eldest son Anne de Joyeuse (1561–1587), was one Wensleydale, or Tummel Bridge; or later at WestMalvern. The of the favourites of Henry ICI. of France, who created him duke and peer (15811, admiral of France (1582), and governor of Normandy (1586), and married him to Marguerite de Lorraine-Vaudemont, younger sister of the queen. He gained several successes against the Huguenots, but was recalled by court intrigues at an inopportune moment, and when he marched a second time against Henry of Navarre he was defeated and killed at Coutras. Guillaume had three other sons: Francois Ie Joyeuse (d. 1615), cardinal and archbishop of Narbonne, Toulouse and Rouen, who brought about the reconciliation of Henry IV. with the pope; Henri, count of Bouchage, and later duke of Joyeuse, who first entered the army, then became a Capuchin under the name of Pere Ange, left the church and became a marshal of France, and finally re-entered the church, dying in 1608; Antoine Scipion, grand prior of Toulouse in the order of the knights of Malta, who was one of the leaders in the League, and died in the retreat of Villemur (1592). Henriette Catherine de Joyeuse, daughter of Henri, married in 1611 Charles of Lorraine, duke of Guise, to whom she brought the duchy of Joyeuse. On the death of her great-grandson, Francois Joseph de Lorraine, duke of Guise, in 1675, without issue, the duchy of Joyeuse was declared extinct, but it was revived in 1714, in favour of Louis de Melun, prince of Epinoy. (M. P.*)
End of Article: BENJAMIN JOWETT (1817-1893)
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