Henry Boynton Smith
Henry Boynton Smith (November 21, 1815 - February 7, 1877), United States theologian, was born in Portland, Maine. He is best known for introducing many Americans to avant-gard German historical scholarship, especially in his History of the Church of Christ, in Chronological Tables: A Synchronistic View of the Events, Characteristics, and Culture of Each Period, including the History of Polity, Worship, Literature, and Doctrines: Together with Two Supplementary Tables upon the Church in America; And an Appendix Containing the Series of Councils, Popes, Patriarchs, and Other Bishops, and a Full Index (1860).
He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1834; studied theology at Andover, where his health failed, at Bangor, and, after a year (1836-1837) as librarian and tutor in Greek at Bowdoin, in Germany at Halle, where he became personally intimate with Tholuck and Ulrici, and in Berlin, under Neander and Hengstenberg.
He returned to America in 1840, was a tutor for a few months (1840-1841) at Bowdoin, and in 1842, shut out from any better place by distrust of his German training and by his frank opposition to Unitarianism, he became pastor of the Congregational Church of West Amesbury (now Merrimac), Massachusetts. In 1847-1850 he was professor of moral philosophy and metaphysics at Amherst; and in 1850-1854 was Washburn professor of Church history, and in 1854-1874 Roosevelt professor of systematic theology, at Union Theological Seminary. His health failed in 1874 and he died in New York City on 7 February 1877. His son Henry Goodwin Smith was also a theologian.
Rejecting the Old School version of New England Theology, Smith was one of the foremost leaders of the new school Presbyterians. His theology is most strikingly contained in the Andover address, "Relations of Faith and Philosophy," which was delivered before the Porter Rhetorical Society in 1849. He always made it clear that the ideal philosophy was Christocentric: he said that Reformed theology must "'Christologize' predestination and decrees, regeneration and sanctification, the doctrine of the Church, and the whole of the Eschatology."
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Smith, Henry Boynton". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 262.
- Aubert, Annette G. "Henry Boynton Smith and Church History in Nineteenth-Century America." Church History 85.2 (2016).