1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Williams, Rowland

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WILLIAMS, ROWLAND (1817–1870), English divine and scholar, was born at Halkyn, Flint, the son of Rowland Williams (d. 1854), canon of St Asaph, and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was elected fellow of King's College, Cambridge, in 1839, and took orders in 1842. During the next few years he actively opposed the amalgamation of the sees of St Asaph and Bangor. In 1850 he became vice-principal and Hebrew lecturer at St David's College, Lampeter, where he introduced much-needed educational and financial reforms. He was appointed select preacher of Cambridge University in 1854, and preached a sermon on inspiration, afterwards published in his Rational Godliness after the Mind of Christ and the Written Voices of the Church (London, 1855). He was charged with heterodoxy, and Alfred Ollivant (1798–1882), bishop of Llandaff, required him to resign his chaplaincy, but he remained at the college in spite of these difficulties. His views were further defined in Christianity and Hinduism (Cambridge, 1856), an expansion of the Muir prize essay which he had won in 1848. He became vicar in 1858 of Broadchalke with Bowerchalke and Alvedistone, Wiltshire. As a result of his favourable review of Bunsen's “Biblical Researches” contributed to Essays and Reviews (1860) he was prosecuted for heterodoxy. An unfavourable judgment was given by the Canterbury Court of Arches in 1862, but reversed by the Privy Council in 1864. Williams died on the 18th of January 1870.

Besides the above works his most important production was a translation of the Hebrew Prophets with commentary (pt. i. 1866; pt. ii. edited by Mrs Williams 1871; pt. iii. though planned was never written). See Life and Letters, edited by Mrs Williams (2 vols., 1874); and T. K . Cheyne, Founders of Old Testament Criticism (1893).