Sir John Robert Seeley

1834-1895. English historian. Born in London, son of a publisher and author, he was educated at the City of London School and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he read classics. He then returned to teach at his old school and later became successively professor of Latin at University College, London (1863), and professor of modern history at Cambridge (1869), where he succeeded Charles Kingsley.* He wrote voluminously on history and politics, especially on the life of Napoleon and the foundation of the British Empire. He is best known, however, for his brilliantly written (originally anonymous) Ecce Homo (1865) which tells the story of Jesus and His subsequent influence on the morals of the world. As it dealt only with the human side of the story, the book was construed as an attack on Christianity and gave rise to much controversy. Seeley followed it up with Natural Religion, a less successful book in which he tried to show that religion can subsist in the absence of supernaturalism.