Geden, John Dury
1822-1886; e.m. 1846

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WM minister and Hebraist, born on 4 May 1822, he was educated at Kingswood School and Richmond College, where he also served as Assistant Tutor. After five years in circuit he succeeded Jonathan Crowther as Hebrew and Classics Tutor at Didsbury College 1856-1882. His field of study included philosophy and natural science as well as oriental literature and philology. In 1853 he became joint editor of the London Quarterly Review. His Fernley Lecture in 1874 was on The Future Life as contained in the Old Testament Scriptures,in which he argued for the existence of the doctrine in the O.T. In 1885 St. Andrews gave him an honorary DD. He contributed to the Revised Version of the OT (1885), expressing a concern to preserve the literary qualities of the Authorized Version. He died in Manchester on 9 March 1886.

His son Dr Alfred Shenington Geden (1857-1936; e.m. 1881), born at Didsbury, was Assistant Tutor at the College 1883-84 and from 1886 to 1889 was Principal of Royapettah College, Madras. From 1891 to 1915 he was Tutor in OT Languages and Literature at Richmond College. His scholarship, especially in Semitic languages, led to his collaboration with W.F. Moulton on his NT Concordance. He also contributed to Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. In addition to biblical studies, he wrote books on comparative religion. In retirement at Harpenden he worked for the NCHO and also for the British and Foreign Bible Society, being at one time its Vice-President. He died at Penge on 3 August 1936.and was buried in the NCH cemetery at Harpenden.


John D. Geden:

'His face always reminds us of that of John Keats. He has the look of a poet. We have, however, no knowledge of his poetic gifts, but we know that he was a great Semitic scholar. He was one of the Old Testament revisers, and one of the most distinguished of them. The books of the Old Testament were portioned out to various scholars, and to Dr. Dury Geden was given "The Book of Job". It was a great compliment, and a hard task. It was a difficult piece of work.'

W. Bardsley Brash, The Story of our Colleges (1935), p.60 A.S. Geden:

'Dr. Geden was primarily a scholar, but a scholar with a great yearning to teach. It would be idle to say that he was able to teach every one who sat at his feet. Nature had not endowed him with the electric personality which can arouse the sluggish minds of the mentally apathetic into an unwonted activity… The light shone from his mind, not in brilliant lightning flashes, but in a slow and sometimes seemingly listless stream. How much he knew! How deeply he felt! And with what difficulty he translated both his knowledge and feeling to others!'

C.J. Wright, quoted in Frank H. Cumbers (ed.), Richmond College 1843-1943 (1944) p. 113

  • Methodist Recorder,13 Aug. 1936
  • Oxford DNB