Frederic Charles Cook

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Frederic Charles Cook (1 December 1804– 22 June 1889) was an English churchman, known as a linguist and the editor of the Speaker's Commentary on the Bible.



Born at Millbrook, Hampshire, [1] and later moved to Berkshire, he was admitted as a sizar of St John's College, Cambridge, 8 July 1824, graduated B.A. with a first class in the classical tripos in 1831, and M.A. in 1844. [2] After leaving Cambridge he studied for a while under Barthold Georg Niebuhr at the University of Bonn. He was ordained by Charles James Blomfield in 1839, and a few years later was made her majesty's inspector of church schools. [3]

In 1857 Cook was appointed chaplain-in-ordinary to the queen, in 1860 he became preacher at Lincoln's Inn, in 1864 canon-residentiary at Exeter Cathedral (replacing Harold Browne), and in 1869 chaplain to the bishop of London. [3]

Cook was made precentor of Exeter Cathedral in 1872. He resigned his preachership at Lincoln's Inn in 1880. He was an invalid during the last years of his life, and died at Exeter on 22 June 1889. He left his library to the cathedral chapter. [3]


Cook issued in 1849 his Poetry for Schools. Around 1864, when the liberal theology of the Essays and Reviews and John Colenso was prominent, John Evelyn Denison suggested the Church of England reply with biblical apologetics. A commission was formed, after consultation with the bishops, which divided the Bible into eight sections, and for each section chose scholars to provide commentary. The editorship of the whole work [4] (10 volumes), which became known as The Speaker's Commentary, was given to Cook, and it appeared 1871 to 1882. [3] [5]

The Apocrypha were treated separately under the editorship of Henry Wace in 1888. The Commentary came under attack: the portions by Harold Browne on the Pentateuch were criticised by Colenso, Abraham Kuenen, and others. [3]

I part I Genesis-Exodus [6] 1871The Pentateuch and Genesis by Edward Harold Browne, [7] Exodus by Cook, (Egyptian Words by Charles Wycliffe Goodwin [8] is given as one of two essays by Cook)
I part II Leviticus-Deuteronomy [6] 1871Leviticus by Samuel Clark, Numbers (Thomas Espinell Espin from work of Joseph Francis Thrupp), [9] Deuteronomy by Espin
II Joshua-I Kings [6] 1872Joshua by T. E. Espin, Judges, Ruth and I and II Samuel, I Kings by George Rawlinson
III II Kings-Esther [6] 1875II Kings; I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther by George Rawlinson
IV Job-The Song of Solomon [6] 1875Job by Cook, Psalms by Cook, Charles John Elliott and George Henry Sacheverell Johnson, Proverbs by Edward Hayes Plumptre, Ecclesiastes by William Thomas Bullock, Song of Solomon by Thomas Luck Kingsbury
V Isaiah-Lamentations [6] 1875Isaiah by William Kay, Jeremiah and Lamentations by Robert Payne Smith [10]
VI Ezekiel, Daniel and the minor prophets [6] 1876Ezekiel by George Currey, [11] Daniel by Henry John Rose and John Mee Fuller, Hosea by E. Huxtable, Joel by Frederick Meyrick, Amos by Robert Gandell, Obadiah by Meyrick, Jonah by Huxtable, Micah by Samuel Clark, Nahum by Gandell, Habakkuk by Cook, Zephaniah by Gandell, Haggai by W. Drake, Zechariah by Drake [12]
New Testament
I St Matthew-St Luke [6] 1878The Gospels by William Thomson, Matthew by Henry Longueville Mansel, Mark by Cook, Luke by Basil Jones and Cook [13]
II St John. The Acts of the Apostles [6] 1880John, Acts of the Apostles by William Jacobson [14]
III Romans-Philemon [6] 1881Romans by Edwin Hamilton Gifford, I Corinthians by Thomas Saunders Evans, II Corinthians by Joseph Waite, Galatians by John Saul Howson, Ephesians by F. Meyrick, Philippians by John Gwynn, Colossians and I and II Thessalonians by William Alexander, Timothy and Titus by Wace and John Jackson, Philemon by Alexander [15]
IV Hebrews-The Revelation of St John [6] 1881Hebrews by William Kay, James by Robert Scott, I Peter by Cook, II Peter by Joseph Rawson Lumby, I, II and III John by Alexander, Jude by Lumby, Revelation by William Lee
I Esdras-Wisdom [6] 1888Introduction by George Salmon, I and II Esdras by Joseph Hirst Lupton, Tobit by J. M. Fuller, Judith by Charles James Ball, Rest of Esther by Fuller, Wisdom by Frederic William Farrar
II Ecclesiasticus-Bel and the Dragon [6] 1888Ecclesiasticus by Alfred Edersheim, Baruch and Jeremy by E. H. Gifford, Song of the Three Holy Children, History of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon by C. J. Ball

John Mee Fuller edited a Student's Commentary (1884) based on the work. [16]

Cook himself was a critic of the revised New Testament, in The Revised Version of the First Three Gospels (1882). In The Origins of Religion and Language (1884), he upheld the original unity of speech. He is said to have been acquainted with 52 languages. [3]


Cook married on 2 June 1846 at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, to Jessie Barbara, daughter of Alexander Douglas McKenzie of Bursledon, Hampshire, [17] but left no issue. His brother-in-law was the Rev. Robert Montgomery.

Cook died at Exeter on the 22 June 1889.

His widow died at Exeter on 5 October 1889. [3]


  1. 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 UK censuses
  2. "Cook, Frederic Charles (CK824FC)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Cook, Frederic Charles"  . Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1901.
  4. Correctly The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version (A.D. 1611): With an Explanatory & Critical Commentary & a Revision of the Translation, by Bishops & Other Clergy of the Anglican Church
  5. Barker, Henry (1911). English Bible Versions: A Tercentenary Memorial of the King James Version, from the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society. E.S. Gorham. p. 217. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Holy Bible According Authorized Version 1611. Speakers Commentary Old & New Testaments & Apocrypha. 11 in 13 vols. Anglican Bishops & Scholars. 1872–1888.
  7. Jack Morrell (1 January 2005). John Phillips and the Business of Victorian Science. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 366. ISBN   978-1-84014-239-6 . Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  8. Altholz, Josef L. "Goodwin, Charles Wycliffe". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/10988.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. Frederic Charles Cook (1871). The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version (A.D. 1611): pt. I. Genesis. Exodus. pt. 2 Leviticus-Deuteronomy. J. Murray. p. cxx. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  10. The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version vol. V (1875),
  11. John Venn (15 September 2011). Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN   978-1-108-03612-2 . Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  12. The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version vol. VI (1876),
  13. The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version New Testament vol. I (1878),
  14. Curthoys, M. C. "Jacobson, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14578.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version New Testament vol. III (1881),
  16. John Mee Fuller (1884). The Student's Commentary on the Holy Bible: Founded on the Speaker's Commentary. New Testament. J. Murray.
  17. Will Probated: 7 January 1843 for Alexander Douglas McKenzie of Bursledon, Hampshire

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Cook, Frederic Charles". Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1901.

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