Feast of Benjamin Hall Kennedy (April 6)   Leave a comment

Benjamin Hall Kennedy

Above:  Benjamin Hall Kennedy, by William Walter Ouless

Image in the public domain

Confirmed here

BENJAMIN HALL KENNEDY (NOVEMBER 6, 1804-APRIL 6, 1889)

Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest

…a man of brilliant scholarship and vast and accurate learning, a telling speaker, and an original Latin poet.

–James Moffatt, Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London:  Oxford University Press, 1927), pages 392-393

Benjamin Hall Kennedy (1804-1889) was a man of God and the academy, a master of the classics, and a Bible translator.  His legacy merits more attention than it receives in some circles.

Kennedy, ordained a priest in The Church of England, held church positions yet was best known for the academic career.  He taught at Harrow School before becoming the Headmaster of Shrewsbury School in 1836.  Kennedy made that institution of learning a famous center of classical scholarship.  In 1867 he became a Professor of Greek at Cambridge.  And Kennedy wrote influential Greek and Latin textbooks and translated editions of Greek and Latin classics–works by figures such as Philo, Virgil, Sophocles, and Aeschylus.  One aspect of his legacy was a Latin professorship named for him at Cambridge.

Kennedy also worked on the Revised Version of the Bible (1881), published a translation of the Psalter, published sermons, and edited Hymnologia Christiana (1863), a volume which contained thousands of hymns.  Among them was his translation of Johann C. Schwelder’s text, “Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know.”

Ask ye what great thing I know

That delights and stirs me so?

What the high reward I win?

Whose the name I glory in?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

Who defeats my fiercest foes?

Who consoles my saddest woes?

Who revives my fainting heart,

Healing all its hidden smart?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

Who is life in life to me?

Who the death of death will be?

Who will place me on His right,

With the countless hosts of light?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

This is that great thing I know;

This delights and stirs me so:

Faith in Him who died to save,

Him who triumphed o’er the grave,

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

Unfortunately, Christian history contains chapters of anti-intellectualism, especially regarding the Greek and Latin classics.  Gerbert of  Aurillac, who served as Pope Sylvester II (999-1003), incurred much suspicion and opposition because of his openness to knowledge wherever he found it, for example.  And I have encountered many Evangelical and Fundamentalist anti-intellectuals.  Fortunately, I have also met many Christian intellectuals of varying stripes and their written work.  (N. T. Wright, for example, is no intellectual slouch.)  My intellectualism predisposes me to my denominational choice (The Episcopal Church) and to a fondness for Christian intellectuals, such as Benjamin Hall Kennedy.  I thank God for them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 9, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SOPHRONIUS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Kennedy%2c%20Benjamin%20Hall%2c%201804-1889

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Proper for Scholars:

O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of Benjamin Hall Kennedy and all others

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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