Life and career
He was reared on a farm graduating with highest honours at Yale in 1799; in 1802 he was admitted to the Connecticut bar and was appointed as a tutor at Yale, where he remained for two years. In 1806 Stuart became the pastor of the Centre (Congregational) Church of New Haven, being appointed professor of sacred literature in the Andover Theological Seminary in 1809.
Here he succeeded Eliphalet Pearson (1752–1826), the first preceptor of the Phillips (Andover) Academy and in 1786–1806 professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at Harvard. At this time he knew hardly more than elementary Hebrew and not much more Greek; in 1801–12 he prepared for the use of his students a Hebrew grammar which they copied day by day from his manuscript; in 1813 he printed his Grammar, which appeared in an enlarged form, with a copious syntax and praxis, in 1821, and was republished in England by Dr Pusey in 1831.
He gradually made the acquaintance of German works in hermeneutics, first Johann Friedrich Schleusner, Seiler and Gesenius, and taught himself German, arousing much suspicion and distrust among his colleagues by his unusual studies. However, recognition soon followed, partly as a result of his Letter to Dr Channing on the Subject of Religious Liberty (1830), but more largely through the growing favour shown to German philology and critical methods. In 1848 he resigned his chair at Andover. Stuart died in Andover on January 4, 1852.
Stuart has been called the father of exegetical studies in America. He contributed largely by his teaching to the renewal of foreign missionary zeal—of his 1500 students more than 100 became foreign missionaries, among them such skilled translators as Adoniram Judson, Elias Riggs and William G Schauffler.
Stuart's 1850 book Conscience and the Constitution took the position that slavery is an institution allowed by the Bible, but that, as it was actually practiced in the United States, slavery was morally wrong. Therefore there should be a voluntary emancipation of slaves by the Southern slave owners. However, Parker Pillsbury reported in his 1847 "Forlorn Hope of Slavery" that Professor Stuart of Andover Theological Seminary wrote"to President Fisk of another Theological Seminary, that 'slavery may exist, without violating the Christian faith or the Church.' "
- Winer's Greek Grammar of the New Testament (1825), with Edward Robinson
- Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (1827–1828)
- Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1832)
- Commentary on the Apocalypse (1845)
- Miscellanies (1846)
- Gesenius's Hebrew Grammar (1846), a version which involved Stuart in a long controversy with Thomas Conant, the earlier, and possibly more scholarly, translator of Gesenius
- Commentary on Ecclesiastes (1851)
- Commentary on the Book of Proverbs (1852)
Memorial sermons by:
- Preview  ^ Parker Pillsbury (1847). The church as it is, or, The forlorn hope of slavery. A. Forbes, printer.