Biber, George Edward (DNB00)

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BIBER, GEORGE EDWARD, LL.D. (1801–1874), miscellaneous writer, was born 4 Sept. 1801, at Ludwigsburg, Würtemberg. After studying at the Lyceum there, where his father was then professor, he entered the university of Tübingen. He took there the degree of Ph.D., and subsequently received that of LL.D. from the university of Göttingen. His father's influence as tutor to two of the royal princesses caused him to be destined for a diplomatic career, contrary to his own inclinations. His share in the agitations for German unity made it prudent for him to quit Würtemberg, first for Italy, and then for the Grisons, where for several months he concealed himself in a farmhouse. He ventured out from the Grisons to Yverdun, where he became a master in one of the Pestalozzi institutions. He afterwards published 'Beitrag zur Biographie Heinrich Pestalozzi's,' 8vo, St. Gallen, 1827, and 'Henry Pestalozzi and his Plan of Education,' 8vo, London, 1831. In 1826 he accepted the offer of a tutorship in England, and in 1830 he published 'The Christian Minister and Family Friend,' and 'Christian Education,' the substance of lectures delivered in 1828 and 1829. Biber became the head of a flourishing classical school at Hampstead, and afterwards at Coombe Wood. On his arrival in England Biber had 'no settled religious convictions,' but decided to join the church of England. An act of parliament was obtained for his naturalisation, and he was ordained to the curacy of Ham in July 1839. Soon afterwards Biber published his elaborate work entitled 'The Standard of Catholicity, or an Attempt to point out in a plain Manner certain safe and leading Principles amidst the conflicting Opinions by which the Church is at present agitated,' 8vo, London, 1840; 2nd edition, 1844. In 1842 he published his 'Catholicity v. Sibthorp,' 8vo, London, called in a second edition 'The Catholicity of the Anglican Church vindicated, and the alleged Catholicity of the Roman Church disproved,' 8vo, London, 1844. In 1842 he was appointed to the new vicarage of Holy Trinity, Roehampton, which had formerly been a hamlet of Putney, and laboured here for thirty years. He took part in many movements, like the establishment of the National Club in 1845, of the Metropolitan Church Union in 1849, and in 1850 of the Society for the Revival of Convocation. He was elected a member of the council of the English Church Union in 1863, 'when he took a leading part in the action of the union in the Colenso case, but resigned his seat in June 1864, on the ground of mediævalist tendencies and rationalistic sympathies in the council.' He protested earnestly against the disestablishment of the Irish church, and sympathised with the Old Catholic movement of Germany, with one of the leaders of which, Dr. Michaelis, he carried on a Latin correspondence; this was afterwards published as 'De Unitate Ecclesiæ, et de Concilio Œcumenico libero congregando Epistola;' an English version was called, 'On the Unity of the Church, 8vo, London, 1871. Biber attended the Old Catholic congress at Cologne, and he published a German sermon, 'Ein Wort der Liebe und Hoffnung,' the English version of which was entitled 'A Word of Love and Hope, addressed to the Old Catholics of Germany,' 8vo, London, 1872. Biber was one of the principal writers in the 'English Review,' which took the place of the , 'British Critic' after the appearance of No. XC. of 'Tracts for the Times.' He also contributed largely to the 'Churchman's Magazine,' the 'Literary Churchman,' the 'Church Review,' the 'Colonial Church Chronicles,' the 'John Bull,' of which, for a period of eight years, 1848-1856, he acted as editor, and to the 'English Churchman.' Early in 1872 Biber was promoted by Lord Chancellor Hatherley to the rectory of West Allington, near Grantham. There Biber died 19 Jan. 1874. He published amongst many works, twenty-one 'Sermons for Saints' Days,' 8vo, London, 1846; 'The Seven Voices of the Spirit,' 8vo, London, 1857, a commentary on the Apocalypse; 'Royalty of Christ and the Church and Kingdom of England,' 8vo, London, 1857; Twenty-four Tales of the English Church,' 8vo, London, 1832; 'The Supremacy Question, or Justice to the Church of England,' 8vo, London, 1847, expanded in the following year into 'The Royal Supremacy over the Church, considered as to its Origin and its Constitutional Limits,' 8vo, London, 1848; 'The Supremacy Question considered in its successive Phases, Theocratic, Imperial, or Royal, Papal, and Popular,' 8vo, London, 1865; 'Life of St. Paul,' 8vo, London, 1849; 'The Communion of the Faithful essential to the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist,' 8vo, London, 1863; and 'The Veracity and Divine Authority of the Pentateuch vindicated,' 8vo, London, 1863.

[Men of the Time, 1872; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1874. John Bull, 24 Jan. 1874; English Churchman and Clerical Journal, 23 and 29 Jan. 1874.]

A. H. G.