Henry Rogers

(1806—1877) writer and Christian apologist

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Henry Rogers was born in St Albans on 18 October 1806 and died in Machynlleth, Powys on 20 August 1877. After schooling under John Smith of Redbourne and J.C. Thorowgood of Mill Hill, London, Rogers, setting out to follow his father's profession, was apprenticed to the surgeon John Ray, but never practised on his own account. Instead, encouraged by George Redford and others, in 1826 he entered Highbury College to train for the Congregational ministry under William Harris, Robert Halley and Henry Foster Burder. Burder's attachment to the common sense philosophy of Dugald Stewart was congenial to Rogers, whose philosophical writings reveal the influence of both Reid and his successors, and Joseph Butler. Rogers became assistant to Thomas Durant of Poole in November 1829, though he was never ordained; it appears that a chronic throat condition precluded the regular work of the ministry. He therefore turned to writing and teaching. He followed Burder as lecturer in logic and rhetoric at Highbury College (1832–9), and in 1836 he was appointed to the Chair of English Language and Literature at what is now University College London. In September 1839 he became Professor of Intellectual Philosophy at Spring Hill [Congregational] College, Birmingham, where his textbooks were Stewart's Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (1792–1827) and Whately's Elements of Logic (1828). His favoured teaching method, as for Socrates, was the dialogue rather than the formal lecture. A number of his students gained the London MA, R.A. Redford, R.W. Dale and J.B. Paton receiving the Gold Medal in three successive years. In 1856 Rogers declined to allow his name to go forward for the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh University, which was vacant following the death of William Hamilton. He likewise declined to succeed Harris as Principal and Professor at what was now New [Congregational] College, London. But in 1858 Lancashire Independent College, Manchester succeeded in wresting him from Spring Hill, and he succeeded Robert Vaughan as President and Professor of Theology. In 1864 he tendered his resignation owing to ill-health, but agreed to continue as non-resident President and Professor. Caleb Scott succeeded him in the former post in 1869, and he resigned the latter following an accident in 1871. He retired first to Silverdale and then to Machynlleth. Among his Manchester students were J.M. Hodgson and Elkanah Armitage.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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