John Rainolds

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John Rainolds (or Reynolds) (1549 – 21 May 1607), English divine, was born about Michaelmas 1549 at Pinhoe, near Exeter.

He was educated at Merton and Corpus Christi Colleges, Oxford, becoming a fellow of the latter in 1568. In 1572-73 he was appointed reader in Greek, and his lectures on Aristotle's Rhetoric laid the sure basis of his fame. He resigned the office in 1578 and his fellowship in 1586, through inability to agree with the president William Cole, and became a tutor at Queen's College.

By this time he had acquired a considerable reputation as a disputant on the Puritan side, and the story goes that Elizabeth I visiting the university in 1592 "schooled him for his obstinate preciseness, willing him to follow her laws, and not run before them."

In 1593 he was made dean of Lincoln. The fellows of Corpus were anxious to replace Cole by Rainolds, and change was effected, Rainolds being elected president in December 1598.

The chief events of his subsequent career were his share in the Hampton Court Conference, where he was the most prominent representative of the Puritan party and received a good deal of favour from the king, and in the Authorized Version of the Bible. Of this project he was initiator, and himself worked with the company who undertook the translation of the Prophets. He died of consumption on the 21st of May 1607, leaving a great reputation for scholarship and high character.


  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading

  • J.W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Latin Writing of the Age, Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990.
  • Lawrence D. Green, "Introduction," John Rainolds's Oxford Lectures on Aristotles Rhetoric, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1986.
  • Mordechai Feingold and Lawrence D. Green, "John Rainolds," British Rhetoricians and Logicians, 1500-1660, Second Series, DLB 281, Detroit: Gale, 2003, pp. 249-259.
  • Mordechai Feingold, "Rainolds , John (1549–1607)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 [1]

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