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Frederick Maurice

photograph of drawing of Frederick Denison Maurice dated 1859Frederick Denison Maurice (1859)Frederick Maurice was one of Victorian England's leading theologians and controversialists and was from 1840 Professor of English Literature and History and from 1846 Professor of Theology at King's College London. Maurice was from a Unitarian background but was baptised into the Church of England in 1831.

He was educated at Cambridge and read for the bar in London. Maurice edited or contributed to several leading journals including the Metropolitan Quarterly Magazine and Westminster Review before ordination and appointment as chaplain to Guy's Hospital from 1836.

He was elected Professor of English Literature at King's in 1840, an appointment probably owing in no short measure to his strident rejection of the secular principles of the Benthamite radicals.

Maurice believed that religion should lie at the heart of education but more orthodox clergymen regarded him as something of a maverick for his faith in religious unity and espousal of Christian Socialism.Ā  The publication of his Theological Essays and repudiation of a belief in the endlessness of future punishment brought the controversy to a head at King's College, resulting in his effective dismissal by the College Council in 1853.

Maurice helped establish Queen's College for the education of governesses in 1848 and the Working Men's College in 1854 before obtaining a chair at Cambridge in 1866.

He remained a prominent and often controversial, teacher, writer and theologian until his death in 1872. A chair at King's now commemorates his contribution to scholarship at the College: the F D Maurice Professorship of Moral and Social Theology.

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