MACKNIGHT, JAMES, D.D.,
a learned biblical critic, the son of the Rev. William Macknight,
minister of Irvine in Ayrshire, was born September 17, 1721. He
received his academical education at the university of Glasgow, and
afterwards studied theology at Leyden. On his return to Scotland he
was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Irvine, and after
officiating for some time at the Gorbals, in Glasgow, he acted as
assistant at Kilwinning. In May 1753 he was ordained minister of
Maybole in his native county. In 1756 he published a ‘Harmony of the
Gospels,’ which met with such a favourable reception, that he was
induced in 1763 to bring out a second edition, with considerable
improvements and additions. The same year he produced his ‘Truth of
the Gospel History,’ which still farther advanced his reputation as
a theologian. From the university of Edinburgh he received the
degree of D.D., and he was in 1769 chosen moderator of the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland. During the same year he was
translated to the parochial charge of Jedburgh, and in 1772 he
became minister, first of Lady Yester’s, Edinburgh, and in 1778 of
the Old church in that city, where he had for his colleague Dr.
Henry the historian. For upwards of thirty years he was engaged in
the preparation of his last and most important work, ‘The New
Literal Translation from the Greek of all the Apostolical Epistles,
with Commentaries and Notes, which was published in 1795, in 4 vols.
quarto. He died January 13, 1800. – His works are:
Harmony of the Four Gospels, in which the natural order of
each is preserved; with a Paraphrase and Notes. Lond. 1756, 2 vols,
in one, 4to. 2d edit.; with six Discourses on Jewish Antiquities.
Lond. 1763, 4to. 3d edit. Edin. 1804, 2 vols. 8vo. This has long
been regarded as a standard book among Divines. It was translated
into Latin, by Professor Ruckersfelder, and published at Bremen and
Deventer. 1772, 3 vols. 8vo.
The Truth of the Gospel History shewn, in three books. London,
The Translation of the First and Second Epistles to the
Thessalonians: with a commentary and Notes. London, 1787, 4to.
A new Literal Translation, from the original Greek, of all the
Apostolic Epistles; with a Commentary and Notes, Philological,
Critical, Explanatory, and Practical. To which is added, A History
of the Life of the Apostle Paul. Edin., 1795, 4 vols. 4to. 2d edit.;
with the Greek Text, and an account of the Life of the Author. 1807,
6 vols. 8vo. Also without the Greek Text. 3 vols. 4to. and 4 vols,
8vo. This is a work of theological diligence, learning and piety not