William Robertson Smith

(1846—1894) theologian and Semitic scholar

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Scottish theologian and Semitic scholar. He was at the centre of the storm provoked by the higher criticism of the OT. His articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica were criticized by a committee of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland as undermining belief in the inspiration of the Bible, and in 1881 he was removed from his chair at the Free Church College in Aberdeen. He spent the rest of his life in Cambridge. His lectures on The Old Testament in the Jewish Church (1881) popularized J. Wellhausen's theory of the structure and date of the Pentateuch and of the development of Israelite religion; in The Prophets of Israel (1882) he expounded on this basis the life and teaching of the early Prophets.

Subjects: Christianity.

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