Marcus Dods Jnr the Scholar

Marcus Dods Jnr died, on April 26, 1909. He was born on April 11, 1834 at Belford, Northumberland in Scotland, where his father, Marcus Dods (senior) was a Scottish Church (Presbyterian) minister.

Young Marcus was trained at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University, and followed in his father’s footsteps, pastoring, and later teaching in New College, Edinburgh.

In 1864 Dods became minister of Renfield Free Church, Glasgow, where he worked for twenty-five years.

At New College, Edinburgh, in 1890, charges of heresy were brought against him (and dismissed) for denying the inerrancy of Scripture. The charge was based on a sermon on Inspiration which Dods delivered in 1878. The charge against him was dropped by a large majority.

One delightful story concerning Dods comes from The Speaker’s Bible (Romans, Vol. 2, page 143). There we read of his long Saturday walks with Alexander Whyte, a fellow Presbyterian clergyman, and of their discussion. “Whatever we started off with in our conversations” said Whyte, “we soon made across country, somehow, to Jesus …”

Dods devoted much time to the publication of theological books. He wrote, edited existing works, contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible, and busied himself with many other publications.

Apart from his services to Biblical scholarship, providing resources for the scholarly, Dods sought to present to the less educated reader the benefit of insights not readily available to them.

Marcus Dods was 75 at the time of his death.

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at:

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