Donaldson, John William, Dd

Donaldson, John William, D.D., a modern Latitudinarian divine and scholar, was born in London, June 10, 1812. He was educated first at the University of London, and afterwards at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated as B.A. in 1834, and obtained the second place in the first class of the classical tripos. In 1835 he was elected fellow. His reputation rests upon his numerous and valuable writings in philosophy and classical literature, e.g. his Theatre of the Greeks (8vo, many editions): — New Cratylus (1839; 3d ed. 1859): —

Varronianus (1844). After his ordination he became head-master of Bury St. Edmunds, where he remained several years, and published Maskil le Sopher (a treatise on Hebrew grammar), and finally Jashar, or Fragmenta Archetypa Carminum Hebraicorum, etc. (Berlin, 1854; London, 1860, 8vo), the object of which was to reconstruct the lost book of Jashar from the fragments scattered through the O.T. The book is full of wild and extravagant conjectures. SEE JASHER. Soon after he resigned his place at Bury St. Edmunds, and returned to Cambridge, where he gave a course of lectures on Latin synonymes, and occupied himself with tuition. Here he wrote a volume entitled Christian Orthodoxy reconciled with the Conclusions of modern critical Learning (London 1857, 8vo), an attempt, according to the author, "to stay the plague of unbelief, which has for some time followed in the train of a dishonest Bibliolatry." In 1856 he was appointed one of the classical examiners in the University of London. He died in London February 10, 1861. Dr. Donaldson was a man of great industry, learning, and integrity, but his critical faculty was not equal to the tasks he ambitiously attempted. That his Jashar abounds in misapplied learning, uncritical criticism, and unsound exegesis, was amply shown on its appearance by Ewald and other German scholars, and by Perowne and others in England. See Journal of Sacred Literature, July, 1855, article 1, and October 1860, page 206; Christian. Remembrancer, October 1855, art. 5.

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