Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Geikie, John Cunningham

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GEIKIE, JOHN CUNNINGHAM (1824–1906), religious writer, born in Edinburgh on 26 Oct. 1824, was second son of Archibald Geikie, presbyterian minister in Toronto and subsequently at Canaan, Connecticut. Geikie received his early education in Edinburgh, and afterwards studied divinity for four years at Queen's College, Kingston, Ontario. Ordained a presbyterian minister in 1848, he first engaged in missionary work in Canada. From 1851 to 1854 he was presbyterian minister at Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1860 he returned to Great Britain and held a presbyterian charge at Sunderland till 1867, and at Islington Chapel from 1867 to 1873. In 1876 he was ordained deacon in the Church of England and priest next year. He was curate of St. Peter's, Dulwich (1876-9), rector of Christ Church, Neuilly, Paris (1879-81), vicar of St. Mary's, Barnstaple (1883-5), and vicar of St. Martin-at-Palace, Norwich (1885-90). In 1871 he was made hon. D.D. of Queen's College, Kingston, Ontario, and in 1891 hon. LL.D. of Edinburgh University. In 1890 he retired, owing to ill-health, to Bournemouth, where he died on 1 April 1906. He was buried at Barnstaple. He had been awarded a civil list pension of 50l. in 1898. He married in 1849 Margaret, daughter of David Taylor of Dublin. She survived him with two sons.

Geikie enjoyed a wide reputation as a writer of popular books on biblical and religious subjects. Spurgeon described him as 'one of the best religious writers of the age.' Scholarly, imaginative, and lucid, his chief writings dealt on orthodox hues with historical and practical rather than with theological themes. His most ambitious work was 'Hours with the Bible, or, the Scriptures in the Light of Modern Discovery and Knowledge' (10 vols. 1881-4; new edit, largely re-written, 12 vols. 1896-7). His 'Life and Words of Christ' (2 vols. 1877; new edit. 1 vol. 1891) reached a circulation of nearly 100,000 copies, and Delitzsch placed the book in 'the highest rank.' He was deeply interested in the exploration of Palestine under the direction of Claude Régnier Conder [q. v. Suppl. II], and several visits to the country supplied him with material for 'The Holy Land and the Bible: A Book of Scripture Illustrations gathered in Palestine' (2 vols. 1887; abridged edit. 1903). Among Geikie's other works were:

  1. 'George Stanley, or Life in the Woods,' 1864; 2nd edit. 1874.
  2. 'Entering on Life,' 1870.
  3. 'Old Testament Portraits,' 1878; new edit, entitled 'Old Testament Characters,' 1880; enlarged edit. 1884.
  4. 'The English Reformation,' 1879, a popular history from the ultra-Protestant standpoint which ran through numerous editions.
  5. 'The Precious Promises, or Light from Beyond,' 1882.
  6. 'Landmarks of Old Testament History,' 1894.
  7. 'The Vicar and his Friends,' 1901.

Geikie was also a voluminous contributor to religious magazines.

[Scotsman, 3 April 1906; Allibone's Dict.; Crockford's Clerical Directory.]

W. F. G.