Colet, John

Colet, John

(kŏ`lĭt), 1467?–1519, English humanist and theologian. While studying on the Continent (1493–96), Colet became interested in classical scholarship and in theories of education. After his residency at Oxford as a lecturer, in 1505 he became dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London. He planned the new St. Paul's School (1509) and endowed it from his private fortune. With William Lily, the school's first headmaster, and Erasmus, he collaborated on a Latin grammar that was later called the Eton grammar and used by generations of schoolboys. Colet did not, himself, break with the Roman Church, but his ideas on church reform were influential later. Most of his writings were unpublished until the late 19th cent.


See biography by J. H. Lupton (2d ed. 1961); F. Seebohm, The Oxford Reformers (1913, repr. 1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Colet, John


Born about 1467; died Sept. 16,1519, in Sheen, Surrey. English humanist and theologian; one of the forerunners of the Reformation.

Colet is known as the head of the Oxford circle of humanists. He gave a critical interpretation of Biblical texts in the course of lectures delivered beginning in 1497 at Oxford University which were devoted to the epistles of St. Paul. Colet exerted a significant influence on the formation of the world views of Thomas More and Erasmus of Rotterdam. In 1505 he became the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. In 1509 he opened a school connected with the cathedral; the school was founded on humanistic principles of education. In 1513 he became the chaplain at the court of Henry VIII. Without breaking with Catholicism, Colet exposed the morals of the clergy and opposed secret confession, the worship of icons, clerical celibacy, and monasticism.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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