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William Sinclair Manson

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Famous Scots. / Writings · 13 July 2023

Famous Scots. John Knox.

John Knox (c. 1514-1572) was a Scottish theologian and Protestant reformer who played a significant role in the Scottish Reformation. He is best known as the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and for his influence on the development of Protestantism in Scotland.

Knox was born in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, around 1514. He studied at the University of St. Andrews and became a Catholic priest in the 1540s. However, his religious views underwent a transformation after he was exposed to the writings of Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.

Knox became a prominent figure in the Scottish Reformation and was closely associated with the Protestant leader George Wishart. After Wishart’s execution in 1546, Knox became involved in a rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church. He was captured and spent nearly two years as a galley slave before being released in 1549.

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After his release, Knox travelled to England and Geneva, where he further developed his theological ideas under the guidance of John Calvin. He returned to Scotland in 1559 and played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of Protestantism as the dominant religious force in Scotland.

Knox’s preaching was known for its fiery and uncompromising tone, and he was a vocal critic of what he perceived as idolatry and corruption within the Catholic Church. His most famous work is “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” in which he argued against female rulers, particularly targeting the Catholic Queen Mary I of England.

John Knox died in Edinburgh on November 24, 1572. His influence on Scottish society and religion was significant, as he helped shape the Presbyterian Church and establish a Protestant identity in Scotland that persists to this day. His ideas and writings continue to be studied and respected within the Reformed tradition.

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