Edwin Johnson

Edwin Johnson (1842-1901) was an English historian. Among other conclusions, he had concluded that “…there was no constituted Christian Church before the “Eleventh” Century of our Era”.[4, p.xxx]

Johnson and Arbuthnot were acquaintances and met numerous times to discuss chronology. Johnson laid the groundwork upon which Arbuthnot’s “Mysteries of Chronology” (1900) was built.[4, pp.xxiv-xxv]

“His contemporaries would agree that he easily distanced them in any mental contest which he undertook; while his courtesy, refinement, and quiet humor endeared him to them all as a friend and comrade. He did not possess the elan and force of expression which would have commanded popularity; but he had in debate, in preaching, and in conversation a rare and delicate skill in exhibiting some of the most charming sides of truth; and with quiet sarcasm he used to expose some of the popular shams and delusions of the religious world. Few men were so deeply loved and respected at College as Edwin Johnson; for while he was always an original and daring thinker, he never willingly wounded the susceptibilities of those who differed with him.”
– A “lifelong friend” of Edwin Johnson (1904)[4, p.xviii]

“”No one,” a critic wrote, “could complain that [Johnson’s notes] were in excess, the work could scarcely have been better done” — a remark applicable to all his work, which is characterized by thoroughness and by conscientiousness. He was never influenced by any hasty desire of seeing his writing in print.”
– Edward A. Petherick (1904)[4, p.xix]

“Dr. Furnivall, who frequently met Johnson, thought him one of the most pregnant-minded and stimulating thinkers he had come across ; he noticed his singularly attractive and genial manner, and the breadth and depth of his culture.”
– Edward A. Petherick (1904)[4, p.xx]


Biographical Timeline

1842, Nov. 9 – He was born in Upton, Hampshire, near Andover. He was Congressional Minister Rev. Alfred Johnson’s second son.[4, p.xvii]

1859 – He “…entered New College, St. John’s Wood, to train for the Ministry, his tutors being the Rev. Dr. Halley; Dr. William Smith, editor of the Classical and Bible Dictionaries; Dr. Lankester, the chemist; the Rev. John Godwin, Dr. Samuel Newth, and Professor Nenner. He won three Scholarships, took his M.A. in Classics at the London University; and year afterwards the aged Dr. (then Sir William) Smith wrote of him as one of the most distinguished pupils he ever had.”[4, pp.xvii-xviii]

1865 – “He entered upon his first pastoral charge at Forest Hill, near London…”. This is where he got married.[4, p.xviii]

1870 – He was returning to Forest Hill from touring France, Switzerland, North Italy, and Germany with his father-in-law, who’s health was deteriorating. For the next 9 years (1870-1879) he lived in Boston, Lincolnshire.[4, p.xviii]

1879 – He returned to London and gained the position of Professor of Classical Literature at London University. He resided at Primrose Hill and he worked “at both the British Museum and at Dr. William’s Library in Gordon Square”.[4, pp.xix-xx]

c.1887 – He was enabled to focus more on literary studies because the Arts Department was removed from his college.[4, p.xx]

1889 – He completed his fictional work “The Quest of Mr. East“. However, this work was not published until 1900. The inspiration for this work is somewhat obscure to me. Petherick reported that he wrote it shortly after Johnson’s “Rise of Christendom” was published in 1890. But Petherick also reported that Johnson had completed the fictional work by 1889. The fictional book was supposedly an attempt to make “The Rise of Christendom” more appealing to a wider audience by presenting the critical scholarly work as a Romantic, allegorical work.[4, p.xxiii]

1890, October – He published “The Rise of Christendom“.[4, p.xxii]

“For a book of its high character the Press notices were, on the whole, hesitating ; in some cases discreetly silent. Few treated the work with the consideration it deserved ; or challenged its statements or its conclusions — a disappointment to its author. It may be that Johnson assumed too much on the part of his readers and the critics, to many of whom the work was probably little more than a paradox.
… In course of time notices of the book and letters arrived from the Antipodes, where, by a few, as in America, the import of the work was perceived, and (by one or two able critics) described as one of the most important books of the century — an appreciation contrasting greatly with the coldness or silence of the critics at home.”
– Edward A. Petherick (1904)[4, p.xxii]

1901, Oct. 3 – He died at the age of 59.


“”If,” he said (it was one of his last utterances)– “if, in the future, there are any inquiries about me, say, ‘I live in my books.'””
– Edward A. Petherick (1904)[4, pp.xxvi-xxvii]

1873 – The Mouth of Gold

1887, London – Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian Origins (published anonymously)

1890 – The Rise of Christendom

1892 – A Primer or Elements of Historical Science

1894 – The Pauline Epistles: Restudied and Explained

1900 – The Quest of Mr. East (published under the pseudonym John Soane)

1904 – The Rise of English Culture (completed in 1891)[4, p.xxiii]

1909 – The Prolegomena of Jean Hardouin



[1] – Anonymous. The New York Times. May 14, 1904. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1904/05/14/101391619.pdf. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

[2] – Edwin Johnson’s translation of The Prolegomena of Jean Hardouin. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015015383212&view=1up&seq=1. Accessed 10 Nov. 2019.

[3] – Klaus Schilling’s summary in English of Arthur Drews’ article “Die Leugnung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart” (“The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present”)(1926). http://www.egodeath.com/drewshistorymythiconlyjesus.htm#_Toc51777081. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

[4] – Edwin Johnson. “The Rise of English Culture” (1904). https://archive.org/details/riseofenglishcul00johnrich/page/n20/mode/1up. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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6 Comments on “Edwin Johnson

    • It doesn’t look like I spent much time on his biography. I’ll try and fill it out more today

      If you find anything interesting about him in a book or online plz comment again so I can add it in ❤️


  1. I’ve been going thru some of Johnson’s books in past couple of days – now on his translation of the Prolegema of Jean Hardouin. (published posthumously in Australia in 1909)
    It’s a fascinating story unravelling, how Johnson finds so much out. He reads Latin/Greek so can tell stylistic things, as Hardouin can also, asking rhetorically at one point:
    ” No changes in style of language in 1400 years? Not believable.”

    Who was controlling the ‘Round Table’ as Johnson calls it, of these Benedictine scribes, making all these texts available to be printed & disseminated widely all across Europe?

    The Reformation led onto THe Enlightenment, the French & US Revolutions, the rise of Scientism and- almost in a straight line, right onto our situation in the Here and Nowadays …

    It’s a long development from seeing you a year or more so ago talking about Mr Fomenko on Zoe’s show- my introduction to this whole field lol

    I came across a LOT of videos all connected to New Chronology here: New Earth & Sylvie Ivanova

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve just updated this article significantly. Thanks for commenting and bringing this to my attention again. I’m glad you found my website

      Do you post about your readings anywhere? I looked at your blog briefly but didn’t see anything related to Johnson

      Liked by 1 person

      • If you do take notes, or choose to begin doing so, and you decide to want to share them, it will be convenient to already have the blog up for posting

        I’d be interested in reading your notes if you do. As you said, it’s a niche subject and there’s maybe a handful of people (if that) worldwide looking into this


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