Norton, Andrews

Norton, Andrews a distinguished American theologian and scholar, was born at Hingham, Mass., Dec. 31, 1786. He graduated at Harvard College in 1804, and afterwards applied himself to the study of theology, but never became a regularly settled minister. He was made tutor in Bowdoin. College in 1809; afterwards (1811) tutor and (1813) librarian in Harvard University; and was later appointed Dexter professor of sacred literature in the same institution (1819). He held this office until failing health obliged him to retire in 1830, and he spent the rest of his days at Cambridge in literary retirement, varied by cordial and generous hospitality. He died at Newport, R. I., Sept. 18,1853. Dr. Norton was, after Dr. Channing, the most distinguished American exponent of Unitarian theology. He was a clear and perspicuous lecturer, an able and conservative critic, and a voluminous writer. Rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, and protesting against Calvinism, he also opposed the school of Theodore Parker and the naturalistic theology. Besides his contributions to the General Repository and Review, the North American Review, and Christian Examiner, his most important publications are, The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels (2d ed. Cambridge, Mass., 1846, 3 vols. 8vo; Lond. 1847, 2 vols. 8vo). The author's arrangement of the work is as follows: Part 1. Proof that the. Gospels remain essentially as they were originally composed. Part I. Historical evidence that the Gospels have been ascribed to their true authors. Part III. On the evidences for the genuineness of the Gospels afforded by the early heretics. It is a contribution to American Biblical literature of the very highest order. No person can peruse it without confessing the acuteness and strength of its reasoning, and the precision and purity of its diction. Professor Peabody, in a review of it in the North American Review (45:206-222), says: "Norton has placed beyond dispute the authorship of our canonical Gospels; and this point being established, little is left for the defender of the Christian faith; for if our Gospels were written by the men whose names they bear, the authenticity of their records and the divine mission of their great Teacher hardly need the show of argument." (See Dr. Davidson's Lectures on Biblical Criticism, p. 369 sq.; Eclec. Rev. 4th ser. 23:423; Lond. Christ. Reformer; Lond. Prospective Review; Amer. Bibl. Repos. 11:265 [by Moses Stuart]; Boston Christian Review, 3:53; and the articles [by A. Lamson] in Christ. Exam. 12:321;' 36:145; 43:148). Norton wrote also A Statement of Reasons for not Believing the Doctrine of Trinitarians concerning the Nature of God and the Person of Christ (Cambridge, 1833, 12mo new ed. with a Memoir of the Author by Dr. Newell [Bost. 1856, 12mo]): — On the latest Form of Infidelity (1839; see Princet. Rev. 12:31), a work which was answered by a champion of Transcendentalism, to whom Norton replied: — Tracts concerning Christianity (Bost. 1852, 1 vol. 8vo): — Internal Evidences of

the Genuineness of the Gospels. Part I. Remarks on Christianity and the Gospels, with particular Reference to Strauss's "Life of Jesus." Part II. Portions of an unfinished Work (ibid. 1855, 8vo): — A Translation of the Gospels, with Notes (ibid. 1855, 2 vols. 8vo); a task which, in the judgment of some, did not prove creditable. to Prof. Norton. See Darling, Cyclop. Bibliog. 2:2215; Men of the Times, s.v.; Trubner, Guide to Amer. Literature, s.v.; and Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Auth. s.v.

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