He was born in Faversham and educated at Faversham Grammar School (now Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Faversham), The King's School, Canterbury and St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA as second wrangler and was elected a fellow of St John's in 1779. He studied with J. D. Michaelis in Germany and learned the Higher criticism.
When he returned to England, he translated Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament and added his own "hypothesis" on the inter-reliance of the Gospels (that they might have derived from each other, see synoptic problem). This brought him under attack from the conservatives of his church.
In 1805 he began to preach against Calvinism, and in particular against the doctrines of justification by faith and the inamissability of grace, which brought him into conflict with the Evangelicals. He was elected the Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity at Cambridge in 1807 and began presenting lectures on Higher Criticism. He was the first person in the theological school there to give his lectures in English rather than the traditional Latin. In 1816 he was appointed the bishop of Llandaff and was translated to bishopric of Peterborough in 1819.
As a bishop, Marsh was controversial for preaching against the Evangelicals and for refusing to license clergy with Calvinist beliefs (for which he incurred the ire of Sidney Smith). He was a rigorous proponent of strict ecclesiastical conformity.
- "Marsh, Herbert (MRS774H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Stephen Neill - The Interpretation of the New Testament, p. 5
- Works by or about Herbert Marsh in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury
|Church of England titles|
|Bishop of Llandaff
William Van Mildert
|Bishop of Peterborough
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