John Keble

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KEBLE, JOHN

Anglican theologian, leader of the oxford movement; b. Fairford, England, April 25, 1792; d. Bournemouth, March 29, 1866. He was the son of John and Sarah (Maule) Keble. After study at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he was elected a fellow of Oriel College (1811). Ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1816, he renounced his tutorship at Oriel in 1823 and devoted the rest of his life to parochial work, principally at Hursley. He maintained contact with Oxford, however, holding a professorship of poetry there (183141). Among the Oxford students who were converted to his high church views was Richard Hurrell froude, who acted as intermediary in drawing Keble and John Henry newman together. Newman regarded Keble's sermon, "National Apostasy," delivered at Oxford on July 14, 1833, as the beginning of the Oxford Movement. Keble's contributions to the movement included a book of poetry, The Christian Year (1827), which portrayed the Church as the visible channel of invisible grace; seven of the Tracts for the Times; and a translation of St. Irenaeus for the Library of the Fathers. He also helped to edit Froude's Remains (1837) and the Works of Richard Hooker (1836). After Newman's conversion Keble continued his sermons in defense of tractarianism and advocated the adoration of the sacred species in his work, On Eucharistical Adoration (1857). His influence on the Oxford Movement was exerted chiefly through his qualities as a humble pastor. Keble College at Oxford was named for him in 1869.

Bibliography: g. battiscombe, John Keble: A Study in Limitations (New York 1964). j. t. coleridge, A Memoir of the Rev. John Keble (London 1869).

[t. s. bokenkotter]

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Keble, John (1792–1866). Credited with launching the Oxford movement with his Assize Sermon of 1833, Keble spent most of his life as a country parson. The sermon was provoked by the moderate reform of the Irish Church Temporalities Act, which to Keble represented a sacrilegious interference with church order by the secular power. He was heeded as a man of deep spirituality and the author of the much-loved volume of religious verse, The Christian Year (1827), and struck a chord with the growing high-church party seeking a more spiritual view of the Church of England. Keble was brought up in a clerical family near Fairford in Gloucestershire in the high-church tradition of the Caroline divines. At Oxford he was regarded as a brilliant intellect and was professor of poetry (1831–5) until he married and left Oxford for the parish of Hursley in Hampshire, where he spent the rest of his life.

Judith Champ

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