Robert Lewis Dabney (March 5, 1820 - January 3, 1898) was an American theologian, a Southern Presbyterian, and chaplain, chief of staff, and biographer to Stonewall Jackson. He studied at Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Virginia (M.A., 1842), and was graduated at Union Theological Seminary in 1846.
He was then a missionary in Louisa County, Virginia from 1846 to 1847 and pastor at Tinkling Spring, Virginia from 1847 to 1853, being also head master of a classical school for a portion of this time. From 1853 to 1859 he was professor of ecclesiastical history and polity and from 1859 to 1869 adjunct professor of systematic theology in Union Theological Seminary. He then became full professor of the latter subject and held this position until 1883, when he was appointed professor of mental and moral philosophy in the University of Texas. In 1894 failing health compelled him to retire from active life, although he still lectured occasionally.
He was copastor of the Hampden-Sidney College Church 1858 to 1874, also serving Hampden-Sidney College in a professorial capacity on occasions of vacancies in its faculty. During the vacation of 1861 he was chaplain of the Virginia troops in the Confederate army, and in the following year was chief of staff to Stonewall Jackson in the brilliant Valley Campaign. While at the University of Texas he practically founded and maintained the Austin School of Theology, and in 1870 was moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, South. In theology he was a conservative Calvinist.
He wrote Memoir of Rev. Dr. Francis S. Sampson (1855), whose commentary on Hebrews he likewise edited (1857); Life of General Thomas J. Jackson (1866); Defense of Virginia and the South (1867); Treatise on Sacred Rhetoric (1870); Theology, Dogmatic and Polemic (1871); Sensualistic Philosophy of the Nineteenth Century Examined (1875); Practical Philosophy (1896); and the posthumous Penal Character of the Atonement of Christ Discussed in the Light of Recent Popular Heresies (1898) on the satisfaction view of the atonement. A number of his shorter essays have been edited by C. R. Vaughan under the title Discussions (four volumes from 1890-1897).
- This article includes content derived from the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1914. (public domain)