The Reverend George Cunningham Monteath Douglas

 

 

 

Keywords: charities, clergymen, Free Church of Scotland, Glasgow Free Church College, ministers, moderators, professors, theologians, Trinity CollegeGeorge Cunninghame Monteath Douglas (1826–1904), Hebrew scholar, was born on 2 March 1826, in Kilbarchan, west Renfrewshire, one of six children of Rev Robert Douglas, minister of the parish, and his wife, Janet, daughter of John Monteath, minister of Houston.

His brother, Carstairs Douglas (1830–1877), became a missionary, and was a Chinese scholar of repute. George was educated at home by his father with such success that he entered the University of Glasgow in 1837 at the early age of eleven, and took a distinguished place in the classes of languages and philosophy. He graduated BA in 1843, the year of the Disruption, and was awarded a DD in 1867.

Deciding to become a minister in the Free Church, he took the prescribed four years' training in theology at New College in Edinburgh, which the Free Church had established with Dr Thomas Chalmers at its head. He was duly ‘licensed to preach’ by his presbytery, and, after some years spent in ‘assistantships’, was ordained in 1852 minister of Bridge of Weir, near Paisley, Renfrewshire.

In 1856 the Free Church built a third theological college, at Glasgow, and Douglas was appointed tutor of Hebrew there. On 26 May 1857, aged thirty-one, he became professor, and he held this position until his retirement on 23 May 1892. On the death of Dr Patrick Fairbairn, Douglas succeeded him as principal (22 May 1875), and held office until 26 May 1902.

His entire life was spent in Glasgow and his activities closely connected with university and educational matters. He took a keen interest in the establishment of a Scottish system of national education, was chairman of the Free Church committee on the matter, and was sent to London in 1869 to see the Education Bill through parliament. He was member of the first two Glasgow school boards, and for several years an active member of Hutcheson's educational trust. He was also chairman of the university council's committee on university reform.

Douglas was an early member of the Old Testament Revision Company established for the revision of the Authorized Version of the Bible (the Revised Version, afterwards replaced by the Revised Standard Version) and worked on the project until its completion in 1884. His knowledge of the Hebrew text made him a useful contributor. He died at Woodcliffe, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, on 24 May 1904, and was buried in the Necropolis, Glasgow.

Douglas was a biblical scholar of the old school whose learning was considerable but whose approach became dated during his own lifetime. He had an exact and minute acquaintance with the assoretic text of the Old Testament and with extra-canonic Hebrew literature. He read widely and kept up with Hebrew scholarship in German, French, and English. But he was profoundly mistrustful of what he called ‘the hasty generalisations’ of the higher criticism, which changed the face of biblical scholarship and left Douglas of no intellectual interest to academics in his field. Why I Still Believe that Moses Wrote Deuteronomy (1878) is a typical example of his conservatism. He wrote on a wide range of Old Testament topics, but by the end of his own lifetime his writings were thought to have failed to do justice to his talents.

 

 

Help wanted!

We would welcome biographical details for this person.

Click to contribute

Please note that if you employ Spam Assassin, or similar email blockers, then you must ensure that you can receive emails from douglashistory.co.uk

Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know

Contributions

Many articles could benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


 

If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.

 

We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

 
 
 



 

This page was last updated on 29 June 2015

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

 

 

Index of first names

 


Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know

Contributions

Many articles could benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


 

If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.

 

We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.