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Knox, Ronald Arbuthnott


Author, biblical scholar; b. Kibworth, England, Feb. 17, 1888; d. Mells, England, Aug. 24, 1957. The youngest son of the Anglican bishop of Manchester, he was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He took Anglican orders in 1910 and became chaplain of Trinity College, Oxford. A strong Anglo-Catholic, he introduced as many Roman practices as possible, a policy that brought him into conflict with the Anglican bishops. He carried his satirical gifts into religious controversy and satirized the latitudinarian views of some of his Anglican fellow clergy in brilliant parodies of Dryden and Swift. Increasingly dissatisfied with his Anglican position, in 1917 he was received into the Catholic Church, detailing his reasons in his Spiritual Aeneid (1918).

He made his theological studies at St. Edmund's, Ware, and was ordained in 1919. He taught at St. Edmund's until 1926 when he was appointed chaplain to the Catholic students at Oxford University, a post he held until immediately before the outbreak of World War II. His major literary work of that period was Let Dons Delight (1939), a series of imaginary conversations at intervals of 50 years in an imaginary Oxford common room.

Knox found that life at Oxford was too full of interruptions to his literary work. Convinced that the great work to which he was called was the production of a modern English Bible, he withdrew from his chaplaincy and other activities. His Bible (the New Testament, 1944; the Psalms, 1947; the Old Testament, 1948; complete edition, 1955) was a masterpiece of English style. Prominent among his later works was Enthusiasm (1950), a study of religious vagaries. In his last public appearance, he delivered the Romanes Lecture at Oxford on "Translation" in June of 1957.

Other than those mentioned above, his numerous volumes include Other Eyes Than Ours (1926), The Belief of Catholics (1927), Essays in Satire (1928), Caliban in Grub Street (1930), and Broadcast Minds (1932).

Bibliography: e. waugh, Monsignor Ronald Knox (Boston 1959).

[c. hollis]

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