Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ABBOT, Ezra, biblical critic, born in Jackson, Maine, 28 April, 1819; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 21 March, 1884. It is said that he knew his letters at the age of nineteen months. When five years old he was promoted to the first class in reading', and at seven he expressed the great interest he felt in Rollin's "Ancient History." In the sports of childhood he manifested the keenest zest, was an expert at catching trout, and was an excellent storyteller. He studied at Phillips Exeter academy, was graduated at Bowdoin College in 1840, and soon afterward made his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1856 he became assistant librarian at Harvard. He made a careful revision, and collation with the originals, of the numerous learned quotations in Jeremy Taylor's "Holy Living and Dying," and published a new edition (Boston, 1864). In 1869 he received the degree of LL.D from Yale College, and in 1872 Harvard conferred on him the degree of D.D., although he was a layman. From 1872 till his death he was professor of New Testament criticism and interpretation in the Divinity school at Cambridge. He made important contributions, mostly in the department of biblical criticism, to periodicals. As a bibliographer his labors were very valuable, and he furnished a curious and extensive catalogue of books on the subject, which he prepared as an appendix to Alger's " Critical History of a Future Life," and an invaluable addition to the Prolegomena to the 8th edition of Tischendorf's Greek Testament. His most important work, as well as his latest, was a small volume on "The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel" (1880). Mr. Abbot was a Unitarian, and contributed largely to the periodicals of that denomination. He also furnished occasional papers for the "North American Review" and the "Journal of the American Oriental Society," and was a member of the American committee to revise the New Testament. He left a library of 5,000 volumes, containing many rare books, including a rich collection of Greek New Testaments of various editions. In accordance with his desire, this collection was added to the library of Harvard University. The remainder of his books was given to the library of the Divinity school connected with the University, on condition that "there shall be secured as soon as possible a more adequate and safe place of keeping." Among his works are "New Discussions of the Trinity'" and "Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life." He also edited Norton's "Statement of the Reasons for not Believing the Doctrines of the Trinitarians," Lamson's "Church of the First Three Centuries," and other controversial works, and contributed to the pronunciation of names in " Worcester's Dictionary." The alumni of Harvard divinity school published a memorial of Dr. Abbot in 1884.
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