Robert Henry Lightfoot

1883-1953. English biblical scholar. Born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, son and maternal grandson of Church of England clergy, he was an Eton scholar and exhibitioner of Worcester College, Oxford, from which he received first class theological honors (1907) and the senior Greek and Septuagint prizes (1908). Subsequent to ordination he was curate of Haslemere (1909-12), and then in succession at Wells Theological College bursar (1912), vice principal (1913), and principal (1916). He served as examining chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury (1913-53). He was named fellow and chaplain of Lincoln College, Oxford (1919), and then fellow of New College (1921) which he held through retirement.

He delivered the Bampton lectures (1934) in which he presented his basic understanding of the problem of History and Interpretation in the Gospels (1935), championing the form-critical method which had been developed among German scholars of the interwar period, and which he introduced into England, though mellowed by his own dependence upon F.C. Burkitt.* In 1935 he was named Ireland professor of exegesis of Holy Scripture at Oxford, receiving emeritus status 1949. In 1938 he published his study of Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels. He was editor of the Journal of Theological Studies from 1941 until his death. Among his mature studies were volumes on the gospels of Mark (1950) and John (published posthumously in 1956).