Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

Baptist Biblical Scholar: H.H. Rowley (1890-1969)

H.(arold) H.(enry) Rowley (1890-1969) :  British Baptist Old Testament Scholar

Born: 24 March 1890 in Leicester, England.  Young Harold was the fifth of six children. Father, Richard Rowley, was  a foreman in the local shoe factory.  Mother, Emma Rowley neé Saunt.  Parents and children attended Melbourne Hall, the Baptist Chapel in Leicester.  Founding pastor was the famed evangelist, F. B. Meyer, followed by William Young Fullerton.  These connections shaped Rowley’s religious development and his longtime interest in Christian missions to China.  Practical holiness, cooperation among evangelical free churches, higher spiritual life, revivals.

B.D., University College, London, 1912.

B.A., Bristol Baptist College, 1913.

B. Litt., Mansfield College, Oxon, 1930.

Baptist Union scholarship awarded in 1913, but outbreak of WWI in 1914 prevented the study in Germany that normally accompanied the scholarship.

Won the Oxford University’s Houghton Prize for Syriac in 1915.

1915–Brief period ministering to troops on the front with the YMCA until ill health compelled his return to the UK.

1916-1922, Pastor of a Baptist congregation in Wells, Somerset.

1922-1929, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Shangtung Christian University, China–serving with the Baptist Missionary Society.

1930-1935, Assistant Lecturer in Biblical Languages, University College, Cardiff, Wales–simultaneously Tutor in Old Testament at the Baptist College of South Wales (Cardiff).

1935-1945, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, University College of North Wales (Bangor).

1945-1959, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature, University of Manchester, Manchester, England.  To Rowley, it was a matter of some pride that he would be teaching in the department made famous by the Methodist biblical scholar, A.S. Peake (1865-1929), and that he would be a colleague of the great Congregationalist N.T. scholar, T. W. Manson (1893-1958). (Manson’s death led Manchester to call Open Brethren NT scholar, F. F. Bruce (1910-1990)  to the vacancy and Rowley was a significant factor in Bruce getting the nod.)

Focused on the tension between the individual and community in Israel and the nature of God’s holiness.

Major Writings by Harold Henry Rowley

1923  Aspects of Reunion.London: Allen & Unwin. (A small book on what today would be called ecumenism.)

1929. The Aramaic of the Old Testament:  A Grammatical and Lexical Study of its Relation to Other Early Aramaic Dialects.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press. (Rowley’s B.Litt. dissertation.)

1935.  Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel:  A Survey of Current Opinions.  Cardiff:  University of Wales Press; Repr. 1959.

1939.  Israel’s Mission to the World.  London:  SCM Press.

1944.  The Relevance of Apocalyptic:  A Study of Jewish and Christian Apocalypses from Daniel to Revelation. London: Lutterworth Press.  2nd ed., 1947; 3rd ed., 1953.

1945.  The Missionary Message of the Old Testament.  London:  Lutterworth Press.

1950a.  From Joseph to Joshua:  Biblical Traditions in the Light of Archeology.  Schweich Lectures of 1948. London:  Clarendon Press.

1950b.  The Biblical Doctrine of Election.  London:  Lutterworth Press. ( Rowley argued that “election” in Scripture is primarily a corporate concept, rather than an individualistic one.)

1952a  The Servant of the Lord and Other Essays on the Old Testament.  London: Lutterworth Press.  2nd Rev. Ed.  Oxford:  Basil Blackwell, 1965.

1952b.   The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls.  London:  Lutterworth Press.

1953.  The Unity of the Bible.  London:  Carey Kingsgate Press.

1956.  The Faith of Israel:  Aspects of Old Testament Thought.  London: SCM Press.

1962.  A. S. Peake, Commentary on the Bible, ed. H. H. Rowley and Matthew Black.  Edinburgh:  Thomas Nelson.

1967.  Worship in Ancient Israel:  Its Forms and Meaning.  London:  SPCK.


February 12, 2010 - Posted by | Baptists, Bible, Biblical interpretation


  1. Hey Michael, thank you for writing this. When I first read Rowley’s essay in the New Oxford Annotated Bible, it encouraged me to continue reading the Bible and about the circumstances around which it has been written. I see there’s a lot of other work Rowley has to get into. I have some catching up to do on the other theologians. I’ll try to pass along the website to others!

    Comment by Tom Coursen | February 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for stopping by, Tom, and please do pass the word. Following me on the Facebook ap, Networked Blogs is easy.

      Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 14, 2010 | Reply

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