John Knox

Reformation Rhetoric and the Traditions of Scots Prose 1490-1570

by Kenneth D. Farrow (Author)
©2004 Monographs 358 Pages


John Knox has seldom been taken seriously as a literary figure; in fact it is often assumed that he was hostile to ‘art’ of any kind. This study analyses John Knox’s style of writing and suggests that Knox was one of the most highly rhetorical of all the sixteenth-century prose writers, although his prose was never decorative.
Early chapters set Knox in his proper context by focusing on Scottish prose from John Ireland’s Meroure of Wyssdome, through to The Complaynt of Scotland, before examining Knox’s admonitory public epistles, his personal correspondence, and his more exclusively theological tracts. The final two chapters are devoted to his magnum opus, The Historie of the Reformatioun of Religioun in Scotland, the first truly great work of Scots prose, and show that Knox’s talents represent the culmination of homiletic and historiographical traditions, the maturation of incipient religious forces in the sixteenth century and, as far as prose is concerned, the earliest establishment in Scotland of a fully rounded literary personality.


ISBN (Softcover)
Konx, John Knox, John (Theologe) prose Reformation theological works Scotland Rhetorik
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2004. 358 pp., 1 table

Biographical notes

Kenneth D. Farrow (Author)

The Author: Kenneth D. Farrow was educated at the Universities of Stirling and Glasgow, where he took a first class honours degree in English and a Ph.D. in Scottish literature. In 1991 he became a postdoctoral research fellow of the British Academy. He has taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Kraków and Warnborough, and his other works include a translation into Scots of Homer’s The Iliad.


Title: John Knox