COLET, John

(c. 1467-1519)
An English educator, clergyman, and humanist, John Colet founded St. Paul's School, London. The son of Sir Henry Colet, a merchant twice lord mayor of London, Colet matriculated at Oxford around 1483 and went to France and Italy to further his studies in 1493. While studying law and Greek there, he became acquainted with some humanists and was especially interested in their new ideas about education and the revival of classical learning.
By 1496 he returned to England and became a lecturer at Oxford. Although he was not ordained a priest until 1498, he began his lectures on St. Paul's Epistles at Oxford in 1496. In place of the detailed analytical exegesis and allegorical interpretation characteristic of his theological predecessors, the Scho­lastics, Colet presented a more human commentary on Paul's text, placing it in its historical context and aiming to make its message mean more to Colet's audience personally. As a humanist, he praised classical Latin, and Platonic and Neoplatonic concepts influenced his thought. Colet knew about the humanism of Marsilio Ficino, Politian, and Pico della Mirandola, and his lectures, in which he often refers to their works, illustrate early attempts to bring the ideas of the Italian Renaissance to England.
In 1504 Colet became dean of St. Paul's and held that position until he died. When his father died in October 1505, he used much of his inheritance to found St. Paul's School, with William Lily, another prominent English humanist, as headmaster. Colet supervised the school's curriculum carefully and specified that Greek and Latin classics be taught along with traditional moral training. With Lily, Colet wrote a Latin grammar, which Desiderius Erasmus* revised, and it remained a standard textbook for two hundred years.
Colet vigorously criticized the Catholic church and thus opened the way for the Reformation. From the pulpit, he preached against luxury and corruption in the lives of the clergy, and he rejected beliefs in relics and pilgrimages. His ''Convocation Sermon'' of 1512 reprimanded priests for ignorance and immor­ality. As a result, he was suspected of heresy, but Archbishop William Warham dismissed the charges. Because Colet did not advocate breaking from the Cath­olic church, he remained in favor with it. He died in London on 16 September 1519. Colet's effect on learning, especially on methods of interpreting Scripture, was significant, and his relationship with other humanists, such as Thomas More,* helped to plant the seeds of the Renaissance that would come to fruition in England.
Bibliography
J. B. Gleason, John Colet, 1989.
Al Geritz

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Colet, John — • Dean of St. Paul s Cathedral and founder of St. Paul s School, London; b. in London, 1467; d. there 18 Sept., 1519 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Colet, John     Jo …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Colet, John — born 1466/67, London, Eng. died Sept. 16, 1519, Sheen, Surrey British theologian. He studied mathematics and philosophy at Oxford and extended his studies abroad. Returning to England, he became ordained, sometime before 1499. He was appointed… …   Universalium

  • Colet, John — (1467 1519)    English humanist and reformminded clergyman. He was an outspoken (but strictly Catholic) critic of the worldliness and neglect of duty typical of many English clergymen. Born the son of a rich London merchant, Colet studied at… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Colet, John — (c. 1466–1519)    Theologian.    Colet was the son of a Lord Mayor of London and was educated at the University of Oxford. He gave a famous series of lectures on St paul’s epistles in which he advocated a return to the simplicity and discipline… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Colet,John — Col·et (kŏlʹət), John. 1467? 1519. English scholar and theologian who founded Saint Paul s School in London (1509) to promote classical as well as scriptural learning. * * * …   Universalium

  • Colet, John — (1466/67, Londres, Inglaterra–16 sep. 1519, Sheen, Surrey). Teólogo británico. Estudió matemática y filosofía en Oxford, y prosiguió sus estudios en el extranjero. Al regresar a Inglaterra, se ordenó sacerdote en fecha incierta antes de 1499. Fue …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • COLET, JOHN —    dean of St. Paul s, a patron of learning, a friend and scholar of Erasmus, a liberal and much persecuted man; far in advance of his time; founded and endowed St. Paul s School; wrote a number of works, chiefly theological, and Letters to… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • COLET, John — (1467 1519)    English theologian and classical scholar whose CHRISTIAN HUMANISM had a profound effect on the English REFORMATION …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Colet, John — (1467 1519)    Scholar and theologian, was b. in London, the s. of a wealthy citizen, who was twice Lord Mayor. The only survivor of a family of 22, he went to Oxf. and Paris, and thence to Italy, where he learned Greek. He entered the Church,… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • John Colet — Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger. Full name John Colet Born January 1467 London, England Died …   Wikipedia


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