Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gordon, Robert (1687-1764)

GORDON, ROBERT (1687–1764), biblical scholar, born in Scotland in 1687, was a member of the family of Kirkhill. He entered the Scotch College at Rome from the diocese of Aberdeen in 1705, was ordained priest, and left Rome in 1712. With the consent of the bishops he stayed at Paris as prefect of studies and procurator, and he did not proceed to the mission till 1718, when he was appointed chaplain to the Duke of Gordon. After the duke's death in 1728 he was sent to Edinburgh as procurator, which office he held till 1740. For many years he was engaged in translating the New Testament into English, and in 1743 he went to Rome to get his version approved before it was sent to the press. He was much opposed by the party called Campbellians, or Pilgrims, and he returned to England in 1745 without having obtained the desired authorisation. On his arrival in London he was apprehended and consigned to a messenger. On finding security for a large sum of money that he would never return to Britain without leave of the government, he was banished from the realm. He went to Flanders, where, and at Paris, he resided till 1749. In that year he returned to Rome, and having formed a hermitage for himself at Nerni, a village about twenty miles from that city, he remained there till 1753, when he went back to Paris, without having been able to get his translation of the New Testament approved. He lived for some time in the Scotch College at Paris, and then retired to Lens, where he died in 1764.

His manuscript translation of the New Testament, containing corrections of mistranslations in preceding catholic versions, was in 1786 in the possession of Dr. Alexander Geddes [q. v.]

[Abbé McPherson's MS. Cat. quoted in Gordon's Catholic Mission in Scotland, p. 559; Cotton's Rhemes and Douay, pp. 64, 170.]

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