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Colet, John


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Renowned exegete and preacher as well as dean of St Paul's and founder of a restructured St Paul's School, John Colet (1467–1519) adapted Italian philosophy and humanist interests in the will and rhetoric to native English traditions of theology and education. He challenged the Tudor church and society by promoting an ideal Christianity rooted in the assumption that a reformed church should transform the lapsed individual and community and progressively realize a more perfect, more spiritual humanity that reciprocates God's love and action in the world. These views emerge in Colet's comments on Paul's epistles and the opening verses of Genesis and in digressive commentary to a paraphrase of the Hierarchies of Dionysius the Areopagite. In treatises on the sacraments and the mystical body, and a sermon delivered to a convocation of clergy, Colet more directly critiques the decay he finds in the church since its inception, and he calls for a reformed, spiritualized faith within each individual and in the ecclesiastical republica . Writings printed during Colet's life or soon thereafter include a sermon delivered at the 1512 convocation of clergy in the London diocese, contributions to a Latin grammar completed by William Lily and Desiderius Erasmus for the refounded St Paul's School, and an admonition for the moral and religious well-being of the faithful. Other extant writings ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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