Joseph Stevens Buckminster, 1784 - 1812

Joseph Stevens Buckminster was a Unitarian minister, biblical scholar, and author whose liberal assessment of human nature and rational approach to scripture made him a forerunner of the New England Transcendentalists.  He promoted the analysis methods of the "higher criticism" of the Bible and introduced German exegetical practices to America.  His pivotal role in establishing the Boston Athenaeum in 1807 opened the floodgates of New England literary culture and paved the way for a more rational theology which influenced such thinkers as William Ellery Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Amos Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker, and George Ripley.