Charles Augustus Briggs

1841-1913. Clergyman and scholar. Born in New York City, he was educated at the University of Virginia and Union Theological Seminary and later studied at the University of Berlin. After Presbyterian ordination (1870) he served a church in New Jersey, and in 1874 was appointed professor of Hebrew and cognate languages at Union Seminary. In 1890 he was appointed to a new chair of biblical theology. In his inaugural address he vigorously condemned “the dogma of verbal inspiration.” He was tried for heresy before the Presbytery of New York in 1892 and was acquitted, but after the prosecution appealed to the general assembly he was condemned and suspended from the ministry (1893). Union Seminary ignored the decision, and in 1900 Briggs was ordained in the Episcopal Church. Among his many scholarly works was his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms (1906-7).