The conventional picture of Benjamin Jowett (1817-93) is of the outstanding educator, the famous master of Balliol College, Oxford, whose pupils were extremely influential in the public life of Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century. However, he is also recognized as a theologian since he contributed an essay 'On the Interpretation of Scripture' to Essays and Reviews, a collection published in 1860; the book's liberalism aroused great
controversy, and it was eventually synodically condemned in 1864. It has been thought that having got into trouble over his essay, Jowett abandoned theology and became a purely secular figure.
This book attempts to identify the ideas which caused Jowett to develop his theology, the thinkers who influenced him and how his own religious ideas evolved. It argues that, after the Essays and Reviews controversy, he deliberately chose to disseminate those ideas through the college of which he became master. It also shows how he influenced other religious thinkers and theologians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, arguing that he was more important in the history
of English theology than is usually recognized.
'Peter Hinchliff has brought both a faculty theologian's and a career chaplain's expertise to the analysis of the notes and texts. The results are expressed in professional nuances delivered with a gift for presenting unfamiliar metaphysical subtleties in memorable analogies.' John Priest (1954) 'Persuasive Sermons - Balliol College Annual Record 1988
'This thesis turns someone often regarded as one of the boring Victorians into a figure of stature. The book starts slowly and then builds up into a study which will grip anyone interested in intellectual history... the most serious contribution for some years to the history of the development of religious theology in England' Owen Chadwick, Times Literary Supplement
'... there is room for this additon to the books... because the author is an accomplished historian of the religious thought of that age who has put to readable use a deep knowledge of Balliol... A learned essay which shows that, although Oxford and the world are now so different, many of the questions which agitated the Victorians are still with us.' David L. Edwards, Church Times
'admirable and scholarly monograph' Theology
`Dr Hinchcliffe has contributed much to our understanding of Victorian religion' Ieuan Ellis,
Journal of Theological Studies, Vol 39, 2, 1988
'a fascinating study, not of Jowett only, but of the religious and intellectual world in which he operated'
Boyd Hilton, Trinity College, Cambridge, History