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John Knox


John Knox (1514 – 1572) was a Scottish religious reformer.

Born at Haddington in 1514 and trained as a theologian, he became one of the pioneers of the Scottish Reformation by converting to Protestantism in 1543. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by the French navy at Saint Andrews Castle and spent the following nineteen months as a galley slave on a French warship.

Beginning in 1554, he spent several years in exile in Dieppe, Frankfurt, and Geneva, where he came into contact with other leading Reformers, including John Calvin and Heinrich Bullinger.

John Knox published several political pamphlets during his time on the Continent, including the First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. This text, written at Dieppe and published anonymously in Geneva in 1558, was aimed against the Catholic rule of Mary Tudor in England and Mary of Guise in Scotland. The text was intended as the first of a series of three such pamphlets, only two of which were in fact published. Knox’s publication of the First Blast was singularly ill-timed, with the text appearing a year before the Protestant Elizabeth I replaced Mary Tudor on the English throne.

Knox died in 1572 in Edinburgh.



Auksi, Peter. “John Knox (circa 1514-24 November 1572).” Sixteenth-Century British Nondramatic Writers: First Series. Ed. David A. Richardson. Vol. 132. Detroit: Gale, 1993. 210-223. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 132. Dictionary of Literary Biography Main Series. Web. 31 Aug. 2016. URL

Dawson, Jane E. A. “Knox, John (c.1514–1572).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman, January 2008. (accessed April 22, 2016).