Pitts Theology Library
Archives and Manuscripts Department

Joseph Barber Lightfoot
Collection, 1881-1886, undated

Descriptive Summary
Creator:Lightfoot, Joseph Barber, 1828-1889.
Title:Joseph Barber Lightfoot collection, 1881-1886, undated.
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 180
Extent:.5 cubic feet (2 folders)
Abstract:Consists of two letters, one licensing document, and one printed portrait of Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham.
Language:Materials entirely in English.
Administrative Information
Restrictions on AccessUnrestricted access.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.
Citation[after identification of item(s)], Joseph Barber Lightfoot collection, MSS 180, Archives and Manuscript Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
ProcessingProcessed by Brandon Wason, November 2015.

Biographical Note

Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-89) was an influential biblical scholar and clergyman in the church of England. He was born in Liverpool in 1828. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1847, and became a tutor at Trinity College (1857). Lightfoot was appointed to the Hulsean Chair of Divinity (1861) and later became Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity (1875). His ecclesiastical career began in 1854 when he was ordained as a deacon. In 1858 he was ordained as a priest. His reputation as a preacher and clergyman soon matched his reputation as a scholar. In 1871, he was appointed a Canon of St Paul's and then in 1879 he accepted the position of Bishop in Durham, where he was known as a competent administrator and fund-raiser. Lightfoot died in Bournemouth in December of 1889 due to heart and lung complications.

Lightfoot left a legacy that shaped future discourse of New Testament scholarship in Britain. His commentaries on the epistles of Paul were popular expositions that combined higher critical approaches with traditional interpretation. They laid much of the groundwork for English-language commentaries published in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Lightfoot and his associates Brooke Foss Westcott and F. J. A. Hort were often referred to as the Cambridge Triumvirate, a group of New Testament scholars and leading church members associated with Cambridge who sought to make critical study of the New Testament accessible and useful to the church. Lightfoot's influence as a clergyman was most notably felt during his tenure as the Bishop of Durham.

Scope and Content Note

This small collection consists of two signed letters written by Lightfoot, one licensing document, and one printed portrait of Lightfoot. Both letters are written on stationary from the Auckland Castle in Durham and bear the signature "J. B. Dunelm"; "Dunelm" (Latin for "Durham") is the traditional surname adopted by the Bishop of Durham. The first letter is addressed to a Mr. Tomkins and is a thank-you note for a work submitted to Lightfoot. The second letter, written from Braemar, Scotland, is addressed to "Madam" and apologizes for the smallness of a contribution to a certain charitable cause due to the demands on his purse.

The licensing document, dated to December 2, 1886, permits a certain Joseph Morris to perform the office of the perpetual curate of the Church of the Perpetual Curacy of Westoe, South Shields in the county of Durham. The term curate is used within the Anglican Church to refer to a clergy member who has just been ordained by the bishop and whose first position is in a parish. According to the Canons of 1604, XLIX-LII, of the Church of England, only those persons whose faith and learning are known to their bishop are licensed to preach. Such is the case because the Anglican bishop has pastoral charge of his entire diocese, and the ministers of that diocese are considered to be his assistants.

Container Listing

11Licensing document1886
12Letter to Mr. TomkinsDecember 29, 1881
12Letter to "Madam"September 5, 1882
12Printed portraitundated

Last Modified: November 4, 2015 (bcw)