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Benjamin Jowett (, modern variant ; 15 April 1817 – 1 October 1893) was an English tutor and administrative reformer in the University of Oxford, a theologian, an Anglican cleric, and a translator of Plato and Thucydides. He was Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Early life Jowett was born in Camberwell, London, the third of nine children. His father was a furrier originally from a Yorkshire family that, for three generations, had been supporters of the Evangelical movement in the Church of England, and an author of a metrical translation of the Old Testament Psalms. His mother, Isabella Langhorne (1790–1869), was related to John Langhorne, the poet and translator of Plutarch. At the age of 12, Jowett was placed on the foundation of St Paul's School (then in St Paul's Churchyard) where he soon gained a reputation as a precocious classical scholar. Aged 18 he was awarded an open scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he remained for the rest of his life. He began his studies in 1836, and was quickly recognised as one of the leading Oxford dons of his generation, made a Fellow while still an undergraduate in 1838; he graduated with first-class honours in 1839. This was at the height of the Oxford Tractarian movement: through the friendship of W. G. Ward he was drawn for a time in the direction of High Anglicanism; but a stronger and more lasting influence was that of the Arnold school, represented by A. P. Stanley. The controversy caused Jowett to withdraw from High Table at college to lodgings in Broad Street. Heretical controversialist As early as 1839, Stanley had joined with Archibald Campbell Tait, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, in advocating certain university reforms. From 1846 onwards, Jowett threw himself into this movement, which in 1848 became general amongst the younger and more thoughtful fellows, until it took effect in the commission of 1850 and the act of 1854. Jowett then concentrated on theology: he spent the summers of 1845 and 1846 in Germany with Stanley, and became an eager student of German criticism and speculation. His views became more than radical, they were heretical, which severely curtailed prospects for advancement within the walls of the conformity of Anglican Oxford. Amongst the writings of that period he was most impressed by those of F. C. Baur. But he never ceased to exercise an independent judgement, and his work on St Paul, which appeared in 1855, was the result of much original reflection and inquiry. Jowett found a friend and correspondent in Florence Nightingale, but whether there was any romantic attachment is unclear. It has been suggested that he belatedly proposed marriage, but was rejected, and lived the latter part of his life in regret that he never knew matrimonial bliss. Jowett's didactic and pedagogic nature tended him towards instruction of her complicated character accusing her of exaggeration, an emotional intensity occasioned by hysteria. He was a father figure, paternalistic towards a deeply conservative woman, religious, self-censoring and strict in her conduct. Another educational reform, the opening of the Indian Civil Service to competition, took place at the same time, and Jowett was one of the commission. He had two brothers, William and Alfred who had served and died in India, and he never ceased to take a deep and practical interest in Indian affairs. After the Second Royal Commission in May 1859 he called Philomela 'the Governess of Governors of India' for her robust dealings with the poor conditions in Calcutta "the natives themselves...educated to cleanliness & health by the enforcement of sanitary regulations in the large towns." When an old man he visited Claydons, where Margaret Verney donated him a print portrait of Florence which he later bequested in his will to Somerville College. A. Sorabji, an Indian writer, was a student barrister at Somerville College in 1890s, when the Master of Balliol, pointing to the picture declared her love for him: the story was never confirmed. In another story entirely Margot Tennant later wife of Henry Asquith, befriended Jowett, only to learn that he had had a "violent...very violent" relationship with Nightingale. Jowett was an éminence grise of liberal theology but could be somewhat chaotic in his recollections. Oxford career Jowett was appointed to the Regius Professorship of Greek in autumn 1855. He had been a tutor of Balliol and an Anglican cleric since 1842 and had devoted himself to the work of tuition: his pupils became his friends for life. He discerned their capabilities and taught them to know themselves. This made him a reputation as "the great tutor". A great disappointment, his repulse for the mastership of Balliol, also in 1854, appears to have roused him into the completion of his book on The Epistles of St Paul. This work, described by one of his friends as "a miracle of boldness", is full of originality and suggestiveness, but its publication awakened against him a storm of theological opposition from the Orthodox Evangelicals, which followed him more or less through life. Instead of yielding to this, he joined with Henry Bristow Wilson and Rowland Williams, who had been similarly attacked, in the production of the volume known as Essays and Reviews. This appeared in 1860 and gave rise to a strong outbreak of criticism. Jowett's loyalty to those who were prosecuted on this account was no less characteristic than his persistent silence while the augmentation of his salary as Greek professor was withheld. This persecution was continued until 1865, when E. A. Freeman and Charles Elton discovered by historical research that a breach of the conditions of the professorship had occurred, and Christ Church, Oxford, raised the endowment from £40 a year to £500. Jowett was one of the recipients of Nightingale's three volume work Suggestions for Thought for proof-reading and criticism. In the third volume of Essays and Reviews he contributed On the Interpretation of Scripture in which he attempted to reconcile her assertion that religion was law and could be unified with science. Her radical thoughts on women's place in the home, and his departure from liberal Anglican theology helped to block for a decade his career advancement to the Mastership of Balliol. By 1860, he was already Regius Professor of Greek and a Fellow of Balliol, but an increase in his stipend was withheld. While the work gained fulsome praise from philosopher-politician John Stuart Mill, it profoundly shook the more traditional establishment's fervent belief that the working-classes would continue to worship in parish churches. Recognition that this was no longer so, was just one of the theological departures. In October 1862 he was invited to Oak Hill Park to offer Florence the sacrament. Accepting the prospect with relish, he nonetheless consulted with Archbishop Tait for permission. Many of his letters to her and Mrs Bracebridge have survived; their religion was t.... Discover the Colin Simon Jowett popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Colin Simon Jowett books.

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