CARPENTER, Joseph Estlin. Ripley, Surrey 5.10.1844 — Oxford 2.6.1927. British Indologist (Pāli scholar), Unitarian Theologian and Scholar of Religion. Son of William Benjamin C., a well-known biologist and unitarian, and Louisa Powell. Educated at University College School in London, then studies at University College (M.A. 1863) and Manchester New College (in London, theology), in 1866 a short time also at Zürich University. From November 1866 to April 1869 minister in Bristol, then in Leeds. Started now his career as a theologian by the translation of Ewald. From 1875 Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Comparative Religion and Hebrew at Manchester New College in London, from 1885 vice-principal of the same college. In fact he felt happier as a minister than as a Professor. In 1889 moved with the college to Oxford, the name was changed into Manchester College. In 1899 retired as a vice-principal, but returned in 1906 as the principal. In 1915 finally retired. In 1914-24 Wilde Lecturer in Comparative Religion at Oxford University. Married 1878 Alice Mary Buckton (d. 1931), no children. D. Litt. 1906 Oxford, D.D. 1923 Oxford, also a dr. h.c. at Glasgow, Jena and Geneva.
Carpenter was a productive scholar, although a great part of his research was devoted to theology. The Theism was much used (e.g. Winternitz in his Gesch. d. ind. Lit. refers 11 times to it). He did not confine himself to Sanskrit sources. With Rhys Davids he edited several Pāli texts.
Publications: Translated: H. Ewald’s Geschichte des Volkes Israel as The History of Israel. Vol. 3-5. L. 1871-74.
– The Life and Work of Mary Carpenter. 10+495 p. L. 1879; Life in Palestine when Jesus lived. 178 p. L. 1884; The composition of the Hexateuch. 15+537 p. L 1902; and other works.
– The First three Gospels, their Origin and Relations. 1890, 2nd ed. 19+410 p. L. 1890 (with Buddhist parallels); Comparative Religion. 256 p. L. 1910; Buddhism and Christianity. 319 p. L. 1923.
– Edited with T. W. Rhys Davids & W. Stede: Buddhaghosa: Sumaṅgala-Vilāsinī. Commentary on the Dīgha Nikāya. 1. L. 1886 (P.T.S. Text Ser. 124; 2-3 by Stede).
– Edited with T. W. Rhys Davids: Dīgha Nikāya. 1-3. L. 1889-1910 (P.T.S. Text Ser. 33-35; 1-2 by both, 3 by Carpenter alone).
– Theism in Medieval India. 12+552 p. Hibbert Lectures. L. 1921.
– The Johannine Writings. 493 p. 1927 (Christian, with Indian & Buddhist parallels).
Sources: D.S.M., JRAS 1927, 936f.; D.N.B. 1922-30; *A.J. Long, Oxford D.N.B. 10, 2004; *C. H. Herford (ed.), Joseph Estlin Carpenter. A memorial volume. Including a memoir by the editor, etc. With a bibliography and a portrait. 1929; Wikipedia with picture.
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