Colet, John

[John Colet] (1467-1519) Religious writer and founder of Saint Paul's School, London, born London; died there. The son of Sir Henry Colet, twice Lord Mayor of London, he was educated at Oxford. From 1493-1496 he traveled abroad, studying canon and civil law, the classics, and the Early Fathers. He was ordained in England, 1497-1498, and lectured at Oxford, in Latin, on the Epistles of Saint Paul, basing his commentaries rather on the life and personality of Saint Paul than on the customary textual criticism. Erasmus, then visiting at Oxford, became his staunch admirer. He lectured on the New Testament until 1504, when he was made dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral by Henry VII. In London he became the friend and spiritual adviser of Thomas More. Inheriting a fortune from his father, in 1505, he devoted about £40,000 of it in 1509 to founding Saint Paul's School, which remained on the original site adjoining the cathedral until it was removed to Hammersmith in 1884. In 1512 Colet was defended by Archbishop Warham against charges which originated doubtless in his outspoken criticisms of corruption in the Church. He is sometimes erroneously considered a forerunner of the so-called Reformers; he should rather be classed with Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher. Of his works several have been edited and published by Reverend J H Lupton, sur-master of Saint Paul's School, among them, "Opus de Sacramentis Ecclesio" (1867), "An Exposition of Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans" (1873), "An Exposition of Saint Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians" (1874), and "Letters to Radulphus" (1876).

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