Alexander Geddes


1737 – 1802


Who was Alexander Geddes?

Alexander Geddes was a Scottish theologian and scholar.

He was born at Rathven, Banffshire, of Roman Catholic parentage, and educated for the priesthood at the local seminary of Scalan, and at Paris; he became a priest in his native county.

His translation of the Satires of Horace made him known as a scholar, but his liberalism led to his suspension. He then went to London, where he became known to Baron Petre, who enabled him to proceed with a new translation of the Bible for English Roman Catholics, which he carried on as far as the Book of Second Chronicles and the Prayer of Manasseh which was published in 2 volumes. A translation of Psalms was published in 1807.

This was followed by Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures, in which he largely anticipated the German school of Higher Criticism. The result of this publication was Geddes's suspension from all ecclesiastical functions.

Geddes was also a poet, and wrote Linton: a Tweedside Pastoral, Carmen Seculare pro Gallica Gente, in praise of the French Revolution.

He died without recanting, but received absolution at the hands of a French priest, though public mass for his soul was forbidden by the ecclesiastical powers.

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Sep 14, 1737
  • Scotland
Feb 26, 1802

on July 23, 2013


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