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John Knox

John Knox
(c. 1513—1572)

Protestant reformer

A man with an immense sense of his own place in history, who equated his own will with the will of God and who let everyone else know about it, Knox was as extreme a fundamentalist zealot as it is possible to find anywhere today. He managed to antagonise powerful interests, including Queen Elizabeth of England, and showed a calculated disrespect to Queen Mary in Scotland; even many of his natural allies, including his Geneva mentor, John Calvin, distanced themselves from him. He had a strong influence on the course of the Reformation in Scotland, particularly as the driving force behind setting up a ‘godly discipline’ which let the Church and its representatives interfere in every corner of the private lives of ordinary people. Knox’s own private life raised a few eyebrows: he had a penchant for much younger women, and his second trophy wife was a 16-year-old girl, a relative of the queen, chosen when he himself was in his 80's.