Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROWLEY , HAROLD HENRY ( 1890 - 1969 ), professor, scholar and author .

Born 24 Mar. 1890 at Leicester , son of Richard and Emma Rowley . He went to Bristol Baptist College and Mansfield College , Oxford , graduating M.A. at Bristol , B.Litt. at Oxford and D.D. of London University . He won many prizes and scholarships, including the Houghton Syriac Prize . He was minister of the United Church (B and Congl.) at Wells , Somerset ( 1917-22 ) and a missionary in China ( 1922-30 ) where he was an Associate Professor at Shantung Christian University . He came to Wales in 1930 as a lecturer in Semitic languages at University College , Cardiff and afterwards was appointed Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at the University College , Bangor ( 1935-45 ) and Dean of Bangor School of Theology ( 1936-45 ), and was respected as a hard worker and severe disciplinarian. He moved to the Chair of Semitic languages at Manchester University in 1945 , where he was Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the University ( 1953-56 ), remaining there until his retirement in 1956 . He was also president of the Baptist Union of Britain ( 1957-58 ).

Among his numerous published works are: Darius the Mede and the four world empires in the Book of Daniel ( 1935 ), The Relevance of the Bible ( 1942 ), The Relevance of Apocalyptic ( 1944 ), The Growth of the Old Testament ( 1950 ), The Biblical Doctrine of Election ( 1950 ), From Joseph to Joshua ( 1950 ). He also published three collections of articles, The Servant of the Lord ( 1952 ), Men of God ( 1963 ) and From Moses to Qumran ( 1963 ), and he was editor of a number of books and of The Jnl. of Semitic Studies ( 1956-60 ). His work is characterised by extensive footnotes, which provide endless sources for researchers.

In his day he was one of the most well-known Old Testament scholars throughout the world, as may be gathered from the honours bestowed upon him: honorary doctorates of the universities of Durham , Wales , Oxford , Manchester , Edinburgh , Uppsala , Zürich , Marburg , McMaster and Strasbourg ; being made an honorary member of learned societies in several countries ; a Fellow of the British Academy and awarded its Burkitt medal for Biblical studies . It was he, more than anyone, who succeeded in bringing Old Testament scholars into contact with each other after World War II ; he was secretary of the Society for Old Testament Study ( 1946-60 ), and its president ( 1950).

In 1918 he m. Gladys B. Shaw and they had a son and three daughters. He went to live in Stroud after retiring and d. there 4 Oct. 1969 .


  • Who was who? ;
  • Martin Noth and D. Winton Thomas (ed.), Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East: Presented to Harold Henry Rowley by the Editorial Board of Vetus Testamentum in Celebration of his 65th Birthday, 24 March 1955 , vii-x, and his publications, xi-xix.


Rev. Gwilym Henry Jones, M.A., Ph.D., D.D., Bangor / Menai Bridge

Published date: 2001