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Alexander Geddes

Geddes, Alexander (1737–1802). Theologian and scholar, of Roman Catholic parentage, was born at Ruthven, Banffshire, and ed. for the priesthood at the local seminary of Scalan, and at Paris, and became a priest in his native county. His translation of the Satires of Horace made him known as a scholar, but his liberality of view led to his suspension. He then went to London, where he became known to Lord Petre, who enabled him to proceed with a new translation of the Bible for English Roman Catholics, which he carried on as far as Ruth, with some of the Psalms, and which was published in 3 vols. (1792–6). This was followed by Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures, in which he largely anticipated the German school of criticism. The result of this publication was his suspension from all ecclesiastical functions. G. was also a poet, and wrote Linton: a Tweedside Pastoral, Carmen Seculare pro Gallica Gente (1790), in praise of the French Revolution. He died without recanting, but received absolution at the hands of a French priest, though public mass for his soul was forbidden by the ecclesiastical powers.

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