GEDDES, ALEXANDER°


GEDDES, ALEXANDER° (1737–1802), Catholic Bible scholar. Born in Scotland, he studied in Paris, learning Hebrew at the Sorbonne. After ordination he served as priest in various places in Scotland in the years 1764–80. In 1781 he was dismissed by his bishop for his liberal views. He moved to London, where under the patronage of a wealthy Catholic he was able to devote himself to biblical studies. A versatile scholar and prolific writer, Geddes published after many preparatory works The Holy Bible … translated from the corrected Text of the Original; with various readings, explanatory notes, and critical remarks (2 vols., 1792–97; embracing only the historical books). Already in conflict with the Church, Geddes was suspended from exercising his priestly functions on account of the critical attitude contained in his Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures, Corresponding with a New Translation of the Bible; Containing Remarks on the Pentateuch (1800). He disputed Moses' divine inspiration, explained the miracles in a natural way, and saw in the Pentateuch an assemblage of numerous and mostly post-Mosaic fragments. He thus established the "fragments" hypothesis, which was accepted and developed by J.S. Vater, and one of whose outstanding exponents was W.M.L. de *Wette.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

DNB, 7 (1889/90), incl. bibl. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Fuller, in: DBI, I:434–35.

[Rudolf Smend]


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