James Petigru Boyce

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James Petigru Boyce
EducationBrown University
Princeton Theological Seminary
OccupationPreacher, theologian, author, seminary president and professor

James Petigru Boyce (1827–1888) served as a Southern Baptist pastor, theologian, author, seminary professor, and founder and first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Early life[edit]

James Petigru Boyce was born in 1827. He was educated at Brown University under Francis Wayland, whose evangelical sermons contributed to Boyce's conversion, and at Princeton Theological Seminary under Charles Hodge who led Boyce to appreciate Calvinistic theology.


After completing studies at Princeton he served as pastor of the Columbia S.C. Baptist Church and as a faculty member at Furman University. In 1859 he founded the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. The seminary was forced to close during the Civil War, and during this period Boyce served as a chaplain in the Confederate army and as a representative to the South Carolina legislature.[1] After the war ended, he restarted the seminary and moved it to Louisville, Kentucky. He taught theology from 1859 until his death in 1888 and served as the President of the institution. Throughout his ministry, Boyce insisted on the importance of theological education for all ministers. In a preface, he described his Abstract of Systematic Theology, published the year before his death, as follows: "This volume is published the rather as a practical text book, for the study of the system of doctrine taught in the Word of God, than as a contribution to theological science."


Boyce died in Pau, France on December 28, 1888. He had traveled to Europe with his family in early July 1888 and had been expecting to be traveling abroad for a number of months. News reports at the time indicated that he had been suffering from gout and that while traveling his condition worsened and became fatal.[2]


  • Boyce, James Pettigru (1856). Three Changes in Theological Institutions: An Inaugural Address. Greenville, S.C.: C. J. Elford's Press.
  • Broadus, John Albert (1893). Memoir of James Petigru Boyce, D.D., LL.D.: Late President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louiseville, Ky. A. C. Armstrong and Son.
  • Nettles, Tom J. (2009). James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman. N.J.: P & R Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87552-664-5.
  • Nettles, Tom J., and James P. Boyce. Stray Recollections, Short Articles and Public Orations of James P. Boyce. Cape Coral, Fla: Founders Press, 2009.
  • Wills, Gregory A. (2010). Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 1859-2009. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983120-3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Louisville Courier-Journal, December 27, 1888, p. 6
  2. ^ Louisville Courier-Journal, December 29, 1888, pg 6.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Patrick Hues Mell
President of the Southern Baptist Convention

James Petigru Boyce

Succeeded by
Patrick Hues Mell
Preceded by
Patrick Hues Mell
President of the Southern Baptist Convention

James Petigru Boyce

Succeeded by
Jonathan Haralson