Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rev. Joseph S. Buckminster

Born in Portsmouth, NH on May 26, 1784, Joseph S. Buckminster came from a preacher’s family. Like so many other divines of the day, he studied at Harvard, graduating in 1800 with studies in theology and general literature. For a time he was an assistant at Phillips Exeter Academy where he counted Daniel Webster amongst his pupils.

In 1805 he received an invitation from the Brattle Street Society to lead that congregation. He published a book of hymns for them in 1808. Known as “The Chrysostom of America,” Buckminster was a celebrated preacher and contributed to many periodicals. He received the first appointment as a lecturer on biblical criticism at Harvard in 1811 but never was able to fulfill that appointment due to a life-long battle with epilepsy, which took his life shortly thereafter. Joseph S. Buckminster died on June 9, 1812, but even with such a short career, his published works fill two volumes. At the time of his death he was considered the best biblical scholar of his time.

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