Harwood’s “Liberal Translation
of the New Testament,” 1768

Edward Harwood, A Liberal Translation of the New Testament; being An Attempt to translate the Sacred Writings with the same Freedom, Spirit, and Elegance, With which other English Translations from the Greek Classics have lately been executed: the Design and Scope of each Author being strictly and impartially explored, the True Signification and Force of the Original critically observed, and, as much as possible, transfused into our Language, and the Whole elucidated and explained upon a new and rational Plan: with select Notes, Critical and Explanatory. 2 Vols. London: for T. Becket and Others, 1768.

This is a paraphrase of the New Testament done by a classical scholar, Edward Harwood (1729-1794). His object was “To translate the sacred writers of the New Testament with the same freedom, impartiality, and elegance, with which other translations from the Greek classics have lately been executed, and to cloathe the genuine ideas and doctrines of the Apostles with that propriety and perspicuity, in which they themselves, I apprehend, would have exhibited them had they now lived and written in our language.” (Preface).

Harwood’s paraphrase imitates the verbose and ornate style of writing typical of much English prose of the eighteenth century, and has often been cited as an outstanding example of poor taste and inappropriate handling of Scripture. Shortly after its publication James Boswell called it a “ridiculous work.” 1 Others have called it “turgid,” “absurd,” and worse. In a discussion of the qualities of various English versions, Richard C. Trench wrote, “Of Harwood’s Liberal Translation of the New Testament (London, 1768), and the follies of it, not very far from blasphemous, it is unnecessary to give any specimens.” 2 J. Isaacs observes that Harwood’s version is “one of the most discussed and insulted” versions of the eighteenth century. 3 A specimen often quoted is the rendering of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.

KJV Harwood
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Think not the design of prayer is by the dint of importunity to teaze the Deity into a compliance with our requests—Carefully avoid therefore the errour of the heathens who think that the supreme Being can be prevailed upon by enthusiastic clamours, and a constant unvaried repetition of noisy expressions.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Imitate not in the exercises of devotion, a conduct so erroneous and absurd: for the indulgent Parent of mankind perfectly knows your state and condition, and the blessings that will be most proper for you before you solicit him to bestow them.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. In order to guard you from mistakes in this important concern I will propose the following as a model for your devotions—O Thou great governour and parent of universal nature—who manifestest thy glory to the blessed inhabitants of heaven—may all thy rational creatures in all the parts of thy boundless dominion be happy in the knowledge of thy existence and providence, and celebrate thy perfections in a manner most worthy thy nature and perfective of their own!
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. May the glory of thy moral government be advanced, and the great laws of it be more generally obeyed—May the inhabitants of this world pay as chearful a submission and as constant an obedience to thy will, as the happy spirits do in the regions of immortality—
11 Give us this day our daily bread. As thou hast hitherto most mercifully supplied our wants, deny us not the necessaries and conveniences of life, while thou art pleased to continue us in it—
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Pardon the numerous errours and sins, which we have been guilty of towards thee; as we freely forgive and erase from our hearts the injuries that our fellow creatures have done to us—
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Suffer no temptation to assault us too powerful for the frailty of our natures and the imperfection of our virtue—but in all our trials may thine almighty aid interpose and rescue us from vice and ruin—These requests we address unto thee, for thou art possessed of power which enables thee to succour, and of goodness, which disposes thee to befriend all thy creatures—and these thy glorious perfections will continue immutable, and be the objects of praise and adoration throughout all the ages of eternity! Amen!

This indeed appears to be a very frivolous treatment of the sacred text, in which the eloquence of an eighteenth-century clergyman has been substituted for the simple words of Christ; but Harwood did have some serious purposes, which he explains in his Preface. Among other things, he hoped “that such a Translation of the New Testament might induce persons of a liberal education and polite taste to peruse the sacred volume, and that such a version might prove of signal service to the cause of truth, liberty, and Christianity, if men of cultivated and improved minds, especially Youth, could be allured by the innocent stratagem of a modern style, to read a book, which is now, alas! too generally neglected and disregarded by the young and gay, as a volume containing little to amuse and delight.” And his competence as an interpreter was greater than might be supposed. He had previously published An Introduction to the Study and Knowledge of the New Testament (London, 1767), which was highly esteemed by some scholars, and which gained him a Doctor of Divinity degree from Edinburgh University. He also produced a critical edition of the Greek New Testament (1776) which was in some respects ahead of its time.

Below we reproduce Harwood’s Preface, and his ‘liberal translation’ of the first two chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Romans.


1. As quoted in David Daniell, The Bible in English (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 606. Daniell devotes 12 pages (606-618) to a discussion of Harwood’s version, and aptly compares it to The Message paraphrase recently done by Eugene Peterson.

2. On the Authorized Version of the New Testament, in Connexion with Some Recent Proposals for its Revision (2nd ed. London: John W. Parker and Son, 1859), p. 57.

3. “The Authorized Version and After,” in The Bible in Its Ancient and English Versions, ed. H.W. Robinson (Oxford, 1940), p. 231.


The translation of the New Testament, which is here delivered to the public, hath employed the study and application of some years. Nothing hath been wanting that my abilities, and the corrections of my learned friends, could give this publication, to render it worthy the acceptance of the candid and intelligent Christian. But as it is impossible to foresee what reception this work will meet with from the world, I deem it prudent to conceal the names of those learned friends who perused the whole or part of the manuscript, and what their sentiments were of the execution and utility of the design, though the mention of their names would do me honour, as some of them have deservedly attained the first eminence in the republic of letters. I begun and pursued the undertaking upon this plan, viz. To translate the sacred writers of the New Testament with the same freedom, impartiality, and elegance, with which other translations from the Greek classics have lately been executed, and to cloathe the genuine ideas and doctrines of the Apostles with that propriety and perspicuity, in which they themselves, I apprehend, would have exhibited them had they now lived and written in our language. The true meaning and design of each author hath been strictly and impartially explored, the signification and force of the Greek Original hath been critically observed, and, as much as possible, transfused into modern English, and the whole sacred volume elucidated and explained upon a new and rational plan, with select Notes, critical and explanatory. The reader is desired ever to bear in mind, that this is not a verbal translation, but a liberal and diffusive version of the sacred classics, and is calculated to answer the purpose of an explanatory paraphrase as well as a free and elegant translation. Every scholar knows, that the idioms and structure of the antient are fo essentially different from the modern languages, that a literal and servile version of any Greek and Latin author must necessarily be barbarous and unintelligible.

The method I pursued was this. I first carefully perused every chapter to investigate and discover the One true meaning of the author with all the accuracy and sagacity I could employ, attending to his reasoning, and to the principles and doctrines he designed to inculcate, ever consulting the best commentators upon abstruse passages, and constantly imploring the infinite Source of light and wisdom to illuminate my imperfect understanding. When I apprehended I had found out the true signification of the Original, and the precise ideas of the writer at the time he wrote, my next study was to adorn them in such language as is now written, and to transfuse them through the medium of a liberal and explanatory version. So that my first view always was with impartiality and critical attention to discover the true sense of my author; my next view, to cloathe his ideas in the vest of modern elegance. Elegance of diction, therefore, hath ever been consulted, but never at the expence of that truth and fidelity, which ought ever to be sacred and inviolable in an interpreter of Scripture.

It is pleasing to observe, how much our language, within these very few years, hath been refined and polished, and what infinite improvements it hath lately received. The writings of Hume, Robertson, Lowth, Lytteton, Hurd, Melmoth, Johnson, and Hawkesworth, will stand an everlasting monument, of what grace and purity in diction, of what elegance and harmony in arrangement, and of what copiousness and strength in composition, our language is capable; and the writings of these learned and illustrious authors are not only a distinguished honour and ornament to their country, but in point of true excellence and sublimity will bear the severest critical comparison with the politest writers of Greece and Rome. The author knew it to be an arduous and invidious attempt to make the phrase of these celebrated writers the vehicle of inspired truths, and to diffuse over the sacred page the elegance of modern English, conscious that the bald and barbarous language of the old vulgar version hath acquired a venerable sacredness from length of time and custom, and that every innovation of this capital nature would be generally stigmatized as the last and most daring enormity. But notwithstanding this persuasion, he flattered himself that such a Translation of the New Testament might induce persons of a liberal education and polite taste to peruse the sacred volume, and that such a version might prove of signal service to the cause of truth, liberty, and Christianity, if men of cultivated and improved minds, especially Youth, could be allured by the innocent stratagem of a modern style, to read a book, which is now, alas! too generally neglected and disregarded by the young and gay, as a volume containing little to amuse and delight, and furnishing a study congenial only to the gloom of old age, or to the melancholy mind of a desponding visionary. What animated and inspired me through the whole work, was the pleasing thought, that by the execution of this design, I might, through the blessing of God, engage the Rising Generation to admire and love the sacred classics, to understand the duties, doctrines, and discoveries of the gospel, and to venerate Christianity as the cause of God, of truth, of virtue, of liberty, and of immortality.

This is the First Attempt of this nature in our language, and this consideration, I hope, will entitle it to the learned reader’s candour and indulgence. In this undertaking, Castalio was my precedent and pattern. I have attempted in English, what Castalio executed in Latin. Castalio hath deserved well of mankind for translating the Scriptures in a pure, elegant, and diffusive style.

The relation and mutual dependence of detached sentences, and the several distinct deductions in a train of argumentation, I have pointed out and elucidated by the incidental insertion of a few connective words or particles. The obscure passages that variously occur, I have attempted in the body of the Translation to explain and illustrate in a perspicuous and explicit manner. I have carefully explored and have endeavoured, upon rational principles, clearly to exhibit the reasoning of St. Paul in the Romans and Galatians. The old division of chapters and verses I have been persuaded, contrary to my own judgment, to retain, but I have every where signified to the reader, by the manner of printing and punctuation, when they are erroneous; and I have divided the whole into sections. The parallel passages, and illustrations of particular phrases and modes of expression from the Greek and Latin classics, I collected in reading the antients, and I have generally specified the page and edition from which they are cited.

I can truly say, and I appeal to that Being for my sincerity, before whom I must very shortly appear, that my first and primary design in this work was to exhibit the Christian Religion in its native purity and original simplicity, unadulterated with human systems, creeds, doctrines, and modes of faith. In this work I have considered myself as belonging to no one party, sect, and denomination of Christians, but have given a fair and honest version of the divine Volume, just as if I had sat down to translate Plato, Xenophon, Thucydides, Plutarch, or any other Greek writer, with a mind exempt, as much as frail humanity can be exempt, from prejudices and prepossession, and solely intent upon investigating and discovering truth.

Every one must be convinced, that a faithful and accurate version of any writer in a dead language is sufficient for understanding the meaning and design of that author, and that the fidelity of such a translator entirely supersedes all the tedious explications and laborious idleness of dull and heavy commentators. The author, therefore, presumes to assert, that the New Testament itself, if carefully and candidly perused, with a mind open to the reception of truth, will, by all rational and intelligent Christians, be judged to conduce to a more clear and comprehensive knowledge of Christianity than those voluminous critics, paraphrasts, illustrators, and interpreters of the sacred Scriptures, who have, in general, done more harm than good, as the majority of them have strenuously laboured to make Jesus Christ and his Apostles, Papists, or Lutherans, or Calvinists, and have been more studious to wrest the Scriptures to their preconceived notions, than to adjust their religious sentiments by the plain dictates of reason and the infallible rule and standard of the divine oracles. Within these few years what dire inundations have we seen rushing from the press and deluging the public, of Commentators upon the Scriptures, Explanations of the Holy Bible, the Royal Bible with notes, the Grand complete Bible, the Grand Imperial Bible! some the jobbs of mercenary Booksellers, others the sickly dreams of illiterate Enthusiasts and entranced Visionaries, and the generality of them, the sinister production of dark and melancholy Divines, the bigotted abettors of unintelligible mysteries and unscriptural absurdities. But notwithstanding this melancholy state of Religion, and this general corruption of pure and primitive Christianity, yet, blessed be God, Liberty, Religious Liberty, has still a temple in the breast of thousands, and the love of truth, as it is in Jesus, and not in human creeds, is warm and vigorous in the bosoms of immense numbers of my happy countrymen! Many of these worthy souls have encouraged me. The thought of them, and their cause, has ever inspired me with ardour and animation in my studies. For these I have translated the New Testament. These, and these alone will be my readers. The patronage and protection of these hath enabled me, and will ever enable me, to look down upon the illiberal scurrility and impotent fury of the uncharitable bigot with Christian contempt.

In fine, since deism, infidelity, and scepticism, so much prevail in the present age; since even popery now hath its public asserters and advocates; since enthusiasm is continually duping and enslaving the credulous and ignorant, both among the great vulgar and the small, and is daily making a more rapid and amazing progress all around us; since rational Christianity is, at present, regarded with so much contempt, and even horrour, by the generality of the world; and since a love of unintelligible mysteries, and a fondness for gloomy and inexplicable doctrines, have, with the majority, discarded reason and common sense from religion, the author flatters himself the present work will be useful to his country, in which it hath been his study to free the New Testament from those false translations, which, at present, deform it, and render it absolutely unintelligible to all common readers; to purify its sacred streams from those corrupt admixtures, by which it was industriously suited to the false taste of the Monarch and of the age, in which it was translated; to represent it, as it really is, in itself, a most rational, uniform, amiable, consistent scheme; and to exhibit, before the candid, the unprejudiced, and the intelligent of all parties, the true, original, divine form of Christianity, in its beautiful simplicity, divested of all the meretricious attire with which it hath been loaded, and solely adorned with its native elegance and charms, which need only be contemplated, in order to excite the admiration, transport, and love of every ingenuous and virtuous bosom.

Aug. 26, 1767.

PAUL’s Epistle to the Romans.


PAUL a servant of Jesus Christ, graciously constituted an apostle, and by a particular designation appointed to proclaim the good tidings of that revelation, 2 which God by the antient prophets formerly declared he would publish to mankind. 3 This dispensation was first introduced by his son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with regard to his humanity lineally descended from David. 4 This most holy and virtuous person was most powerfully ascertained and demonstrated to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead. 5 By him have I been graciously invested with the apostolic office — that I might propagate the doctrines of his religion among all the Heathens. 6 Of these you constitute a part, who have been invited into the Christian profession. 7 This epistle I send to all the Christians in Rome — the favoured friends of God — blessed with the distinguishing privileges of the gospel — affectionately wishing you every favour and felicity from God our supreme parent, and from Jesus Christ our Lord.

8 First of all let me assure you, that I pay my fervent gratitude, on your account, to my God through Jesus Christ, that your belief of Christianity is celebrated throughout the whole world. 9 For I solemnly call the great God to witness, to whose service in preaching the gospel of his son I freely devote all my powers, that I am never unmindful of you in my prayers: 10 constantly imploring the Deity, that, if it be agreeable to his will, I may now at last have a prosperous journey to you. 11 For I am extremely desirous to see you, that I may communicate to you some spiritual and miraculous endowment, in order that you may be immoveably established in your Christian profession: 12 that is, that you and I may enjoy a reciprocal consolation by means of our mutual belief of the gospel. 13 For, my Christian brethren, I would not have you be ignorant, that I have often proposed to visit you, but have hitherto been always prevented — in order that my ministry might have that success among you, with which it hath been crowned in other heathen countries. 14 For as I am obliged by my office, to preach the gospel to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, to the learned and to the unlearned; 15 so am I extremely willing and desirous to impart to you in Rome the joyful truths of the Christian revelation. 16 For I am not ashamed of the Christian religion — for it is a glorious effort of the Deity, to promote the everlasting happiness of every one indiscriminately who embraces it — whether they be Jews — to whom it was first published — or whether they be Heathens. 17 For by this dispensation is the absolute forgiveness of God announced to every person who cordially believes it — to which the following words of the prophet may be fitly applied, “He, who is acquitted from a principle of belief, shall live.” 18 For the indignation of the Almighty is now revealed from heaven against all the horrid impieties and atrocious immoralities of men — who retain indeed the principles of true religion, but corrupt it with the vilest enormities. 19 For these are accurately acquainted with all the great known truths relating to the Deity — because the Deity hath in the clearest manner exhibited them before their eyes: 20 For his eternal omnipotence and divinity, his being and perfections, tho’ inaccessible to mortal view, have ever since the foundation of the world been most illustriously displayed and manifested by the frame and structure of the universe — so that their conduct is absolutely inexcusable. 21 Because when they had the clearest perception of the existence of the Deity, they did not pay him that veneration and gratitude which his character demands — but they formed the most frivolous and absurd reasonings, and bewildered their undiscerning infatuated minds in the mists of darkness. 22 Notwithstanding their arrogant pretensions to superior wisdom and erudition, they were guilty of the most egregious ignorance and folly. 23 For they debased the glory of the incorruptible God, by exhibiting him in the similitude and figure of a frail mortal, and representing him in the form of birds, of quatrupeds, of reptiles. 24 For which abandoned impieties God surrendered them up to follow the lead of their depraved and sensual appetites — so that they mutually dishonoured and polluted their bodies with the most abominable and unnatural lusts. 25 They converted the truth of natural religion into the most erroneous falsehood — and they venerated and worshipped the creature instead of the great Creator who is the sole proper object of religious adoration through all the revolving ages of eternity! Amen. 26 For this flagrant impiety God permitted them to indulge the most infamous and dishonourable passions — for women, banishing their native modesty, abandoned themselves to the most unnatural impurities. 27 Men also, in the same manner, relinquishing the other sex, were scorched with the flames of the most libidinous concupiscence for each other — enslaved to a most shameful course of mutual sodomitical practices — pursuing these detestable enormities and reaping in their own persons those effects, which must necessarily ensue from their wilful corruption of natural religion. 28 For since they did not choose to acknowledge and magnify the Deity, the Deity permitted them to forfeit all moral discernment, and surrendered them up to the practice of the most heinous and criminal irregularities. 29 They were sunk in injustice, debauchery, immorality, avarice, malignity — they were overwhelmed with the vices of envy, murder, animosity, deceit, malevolence. 30 They were habituated to defamation, to calumny, to horrid impiety, to insolence, to pride, to arrogance — ingenious contrivers of wickedness, divested of all filial piety, 31 destitute of all moral intelligence, violators of the strongest engagements, devoid of all natural affection, infringers of the most solemn covenants, strangers to compassion and tenderness. 32 Who though they are perfectly acquainted with the rule which the law of God prescribes, That those, who are guilty of such flagrant immoralities as these, are worthy of death; yet do not only perpetrate these crimes themselves, but also applaud others who perpetrate them.


THY conduct therefore, O man, who censurest others for their immoralities, admitteth of no apology — for in the sentence thou passest upon others thou condemnest thyself — for thou thyself committest the very crimes against which thou inveighest. 2 We are persuaded that the decisions of the Almighty against those, who are guilty of such flagitious excesses as these, are founded in the essential nature and truth of things. 3 Dost thou then imagine, O thou who severely reproachest others for these atrocious vices, and yet indulgest the very same thyself, that thou shalt escape the judgment of the Almighty? 4 Or dost thou treat the immense exuberance of the divine benignity, forbearance, and patience, with contempt — not reflecting that the infinite benignity of God is designed to induce thee to repentance and reformation of life? 5 But through thy determined obstinacy and wilful impenitence, thou art accumulating for thyself a fund of misery and wretchedness, which will overwhelm thee in that awful day of retribution, when the just sentence of the supreme Judge will be pronounced: 6 who will then requite every individual of the human race according to his respective conduct: 7 upon those, who have steadily persevered in the uniform practice of universal virtue, and have studied to acquire the glory and blessedness of an happy immortality, he will then bestow eternal felicity. 8 But upon those, who have perversely opposed, and obstinately rejected the truth, and abandoned themselves to the practice of immorality, he will inflict the most dire and dreadful punishments. 9 Every individual then of human kind, without exception, who hath lived in the practice of wickedness, whether Jew or Greek, shall be consigned to misery and wretchedness extreme. 10 But every rational creature of mankind, indiscriminately, who shall then be found to have lived a life of virtue, whether Jew or Heathen, shall be recompensed with immortal honour and happiness ineffable. 11 For the civil distinctions of mankind are of no avail with the Deity! 12 For all, who have transgressed the law of nature, shall be consigned to perdition for the violation of that law — and those who have disobeyed the law of Moses, shall be condemned for their infraction of that law. 13 For it is not merely the nominal profession of the mosaic law that will intitle a person to the divine forgiveness — but it is solely the virtuous practice of its precepts that will be finally rewarded. 14 For when the heathens, who adopt not the law of Moses, yet practice, from the principles of nature, those duties which the law prescribes; these, though destitute of an explicit revealed law, are not destitute of a rule and standard for their moral conduct. 15 They evince that the moral injunctions of the mosaic institution are engraven by the finger of God on the tablet of their heart — for their consciences faithfully indicate the true nature of their respective actions, and their intellectual and moral powers alternately applaud or condemn the merit or demerit of their conduct. 16 All mankind therefore, without distinction, will be judged according to the tenor of their actions, in that awful day of retribution, when the Deity, according to my gospel, will, by Jesus Christ, disclose and lay open all the secret transactions of the human race, and pass an irrevocable sentence upon them.

17 Behold! you value yourself upon your Jewish profession — you repose an entire confidence in the law — you glory in the knowledge you have of the one true God: 18 You are acquainted with his will, and by the instruction of the law you acquire an accurate knowledge of the most important and interesting truths: 19 You vainly arrogate to yourself the character of a guide to the blind, of a lamp in the midst of a benighted world, 20 of an instructor of fools, of a teacher of babes; and boast that the law of Moses contains the only system of divine knowledge and truth. 21 But do you, who inculcate lessons of instruction upon others, not conform to them yourself? Are you, who inveigh against theft, guilty of fraud and dishonesty yourself? 22 Are you, who declaim against debauchery, a debauchee yourself? Do you, who abominate images, commit sacrilege? 23 You who glory in the law of Moses, do you dishonour God by violating its injunctions? 24 For by reason of your notorious vices, your religion is become the object of calumny and satyr among the Heathen nations, as the prophet declares. 25 For the privileges of the Jewish religion are a signal advantage, if you act up to them — but if your life is a contradiction to your profession, you for ever forfeit its benefits, and your Judaism sinks to a level with Heathenism. 26 And on the contrary, should an Heathen perform those duties which the law of Moses prescribes, shall not the external disadvantages of his situation be considered in the same manner as if he had been born in all the privileges of the Jewish religion? 27 And will not the virtuous Heathens, who make those moral precepts, which the law of Moses inculcates, the rules of their conduct, condemn you who, though initiated and instructed in this divine revelation, live in open violation of it? 28 For he is not a Jew, who only makes an external profession of Judaism — nor is that true circumcision, which is merely exterior: 29 But in the divine estimation he only is a Jew, who is internally holy and virtuous — and that circumcision he requires, is a figurative not a literal institution — which consists in retrenching the irregular affections of the heart, and is desirous, not to secure the applause of man, but the approbation of God.

Life and Work of Edward Harwood

The following biographical information is reproduced from the Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, vol. xxv (New York and London, 1891), pp. 102-3.

HARWOOD, EDWARD, D.D. (1729-1794), classical scholar and biblical critic, was born at Darwen, Lancashire, in 1729. After attending a school at Darwen, he went in 1745 to the Blackburn grammar school under Thomas Hunter, afterwards vicar of Weaverham, Cheshire, to whom he ascribes the formation of his liberal tastes (Introd. to N. T., 1773, p. xi). Hunter wished him to enter at Queen’s College, Oxford, with a view to the church. But his parents were dissenters, and he was trained for the ministry in the academy of David Jennings, D.D., at Wellclose Square, London. Leaving the academy in 1750, Harwood engaged in teaching, and was tutor in a boarding-school at Peckham. He preached occasionally for George Benson, and became intimate with Lardner. In 1754 he removed to Congleton, Cheshire, where he superintended a grammar school, and preached alternately at Wheelock in Cheshire and Leek in Staffordshire. At Congleton he saw much of Joseph Priestley, then at Nantwich, who speaks of him as ‘a good classical scholar and a very entertaining companion.’ From 1757 he associated also with John Taylor, D.D., who in that year became divinity tutor in the Warrington Academy; and in 1761 he preached Taylor’s funeral sermon at Chowbent, Lancashire. An appendix to the printed sermon warmly takes Taylor’s side in disputes about the academy, and shows that Harwood was by this time at one with Taylor’s semi-Arian theology, although he says that he never adopted the tenets of Arius. His letter of 30 Dec. 1784 to William Christie [q.v.] shows that in later life he inclined to Socinianism (Monthly Repository, 1811, p. 130). On 16 Oct. 1765 Harwood was ordained to the Tucker Street presbyterian congregation, Bristol. He had married, and was now burdened with a numerous family, and he describes his congregation as ‘very small and continually wasting;’ adding that ‘there never was a dissenting minister who experienced more respect and generosity from persons of all denominations than I did for several years.’ He indulged his bent for classical reading, employing it in New Testament exegesis. A first volume (1767) of ‘Introduction to New Testament Studies’ attracted the notice of Principal Robertson of Edinburgh, on whose recommendation he was made D.D. of that university on 29 June 1768. His proposals (1765) for a free translation of the New Testament, a tract against predestination, 1768, and the republication of a treatise by William Williams on ‘the supremacy of the Father’ (Gent. Mag. 1793, p. 994), made him locally unpopular; he was ‘shunned by the multitude like an infected person,’ and for some months ‘could hardly walk the streets of Bristol without being insulted’ (Introd. to N. T., 1773, p. xviii). He published his translation of the New Testament in 1768, and another volume by way of introduction in 1771. Some charge was brought against his character, and he left Bristol in 1772. Coming to London, he settled in Great Russell Street, and employed himself in literary work. He failed to obtain a vacant place at the British Museum, but says he got a better post (Gent. Mag. l. c.)

In 1776, soon after publishing a bibliography of editions of the classics, Harwood sold his classical books and took lodgings in Hyde Street, Bloomsbury. His means were straitened, and on 15 May 1782 he was attacked by paralysis. Though he derived some benefit from the application of electricity by John Birch (1745?-1815) (see Harwood’s account in ‘The Case,’ &c. [1784], 8vo), he could neither walk nor sit, but was still able to write and to teach. He claims to have ‘written more books than any one person now living except Dr. Priestley’ (Gent. Mag. ut supra). Without being a follower of Priestley, he defended him (1785) against Samuel Badcock. Later he complained of the coldness of his dissenting friends, contrasting ‘the benevolence and charity of the Church of England’ with ‘the sourness and illiberality of Presbyterians’ (Gent. Mag. 1792, p. 518). He died at 6 Hyde Street on 14 Jan. 1794. His wife, a younger daughter of Samuel Chandler, died on 21 May 1791, aged 58. Their eldest son, Edward, wrote a Latin epitaph to their memory (ib. 1794, p. 184).

Harwood’s biblical studies received little encouragement from dissenters. Lardner just lived long enough to commend his first volume, and give some hints for a second, and other early friends were dead. Newton, bishop of Bristol, and Law, while master of Peterhouse, gave him encouragement; Lowth lent him books; and the value of his work was recognised by continental scholars, his first volume being translated into German (Halle, 1770, 8vo) by J. F. Schulz of Gottingen. His ‘liberal’ rendering of the New Testament, suggested by the Latin version of Castalio, was an honest attempt to do in English what Lasserre has done for the gospels in French. But Harwood’s style was turgid; hence his translation has been visited with a contempt which on the ground of scholarship it ill deserves. His most important biblical labour, a reconstructed text of the Greek Testament, 1776, was neglected by his contemporaries. He based his text on the Cantabrigian and Claromontane codices, supplying their deficiencies from the Alexandrine; in a remarkable number of instances his readings anticipate the judgment of recent editors.

His biblical works are: 1. ‘A New Introduction to the Study … of the New Testament,’ &c., vol. i. 1767, 8vo, vol. ii. 1771, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1773, 8vo, 2 vols. (a third volume was projected, but not published. Harwood waited for the promised issue of a posthumous volume of biblical notes by Chandler, which never appeared). 2. ‘A Liberal Translation of the New Testament … with Select Notes,’ &c., 1768, 8vo, 2 vols. (appended is Clement’s [first] Epistle to the Corinthians). 3. Η Καινη Διαθηκη … collated with the most approved MSS., with Select Notes in English,’ &c., 1776, 12mo, 2 vols. (has appended bibliography of editions); his interleaved copy in the British Museum is corrected to 1 Nov. 1778. His contributions to classical studies are: 4. ‘Catulli, Tibulli, Propertii Opera,’ &c., 1774, 12mo (with revised texts). 5. ‘A View of … editions of the Greek and Roman Classics,’ &c., 1775, 8vo; 2nd edit., 1778, 8vo; 3rd edit., 1782, 12mo; 4th edit., 1790, 8vo, reprinted in Adam Clarke’s ‘Bibliographical Dictionary,’ Liverpool, 1801, 12mo, 6 vols.; translated into German by Alter, Vienna, 1778, 8vo; Italian, by Pincelli, Venice, 1780, 8vo; and by Boni and Gamba, with large additions and improvements, Venice, 1793, 12mo, 2 vols.; the ‘Introduction to … Editions,’ &c., 1802, 8vo, by Thomas Frognall Dibdin, is ‘a tabulated arrangement ’ from Harwood’s ‘View.’ 6. ‘Biographia Classica,’ &c., 2nd edit., 1778, 12mo, 2 vols. Harwood also translated from the French Abauzit’s ‘Miscellanies,’ 1774, 8vo, and from the German (a language which he learned after 1773) Wieland’s ‘Memoirs of Miss Sophy Sternheim,’ 1776, 12mo, 2 vols. He edited the eleventh edition of J. Holmes’s Latin Grammar, 1777, 8vo; the twenty-fourth edition of N. Bailey’s English Dictionary, 1782, 8vo; and an edition of the Common Prayer Book in Latin, ‘Liturgia … Precum Communium,’ &c., 1791,12mo, reprinted 1840, 16mo. An edition of Horace bearing his name was printed in 1805, 12mo.

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The following biographical information is reproduced from the The General Biographical Dictionary edited by Alexander Chalmers, vol. 17 (London, 1814), pp. 215-16

HARWOOD (Edward), a dissenting clergyman, was born in 1729, and having passed with reputation through his grammatical learning, he was entered as student for the profession of a dissenting minister, in the academy supported by Mr. Coward’s funds. Upon quitting this place, he engaged as an assistant to a boarding-school at Peckham, and preached occasionally for some neighbouring ministers in and out of London. During this period of his life he studied very diligently the Greek and Roman classics, to which he was devoted through life. In 1754 he undertook the care of a grammar-school at Congleton, in Cheshire, and preached for some years on alternate Sundays, to two small societies in the vicinity of that town. In 1765 he removed to Bristol, and in about five years he was obliged, as he pretended, to quit his situation on account of his principles as an Arian and Arminian, being for some time scarcely able to walk along the streets of Bristol without insult; but the truth was, that a charge of immorality was brought against him, which he never satisfactorily answered, and which sufficiently accounted for his unpopularity. He had previously to this, in 1768, obtained the degree of D. D. from the university of Edinburgh, and with this he came to London, and obtained employment as a literary character, and also as an instructor in the Greek and Latin classics. He died miserably poor, in 1794, after having been confined many years in consequence of a paralytic attack. He was author of many works, the most important of which is “A View of the various Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics,” which has been several times reprinted, and has, as well as his “Introduction to the New Testament,” been translated into several foreign languages. His other works were pamphlets on the Arian and Socinian controversy, if we except an edition of the Greek Testament, 2 vols. 8vo, and a “Translation of the New Testament,” into modern English, which exhibits an extraordinary proof of want of taste and judgment.