John Knox

By Eustace Percy

The classic biography of the Scottish Reformer and father of Scottish Presbyterianism, showing the complexities of the man and his role in the Reformation.

ISBN: 9780718893132
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John Knox has suffered in this century from the common trick of the popular imagination that seizes on one aspect of a historical figure and elevates it into the whole man. At one time he was the foremost Scottish genius, but in our day there have been those who would have us believe that he was a ranter, an iconoclast and perhaps a hypocrite.

The author of this classic biography has sought to find the truth between these two extremes. He shows us Knox against the disturbed currents of the Continent, where medieval Christendom was at an end and no new order had yet emerged from its chaos of creeds and philosophies. No man could stem these currents, but John Knox in his own country gave them a direction. He became, if not the leader, at least the inciter of a revolution. He set his mark indelibly on history, and not only that of his native land; his influence upon the English court was considerable, but he also became a figure of European significance. “No grander figure can be found, in the entire history of the Reformation in this island, than that of John Knox,” wrote the historian Froude. The author provides us with a balanced assessment of the life and times of this remarkable man.

Additional information

Dimensions 198 × 129 mm
Pages 348

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Eustace Sutherland Campbell Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Newcastle PC (1887-1958), styled Lord Eustace Percy between 1899 and 1953, was a British diplomat, Conservative politician and public servant. He most notably served as President of the Board of Education under Stanley Baldwin between 1924 and 1929.


Foreword by Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton

Part I. Prologue in Scotland
I. The Church at Haddington. January 1546
II. The Castle of St. Andrews. 1546-47

Part II. The European Scene
III. The Dilemma of Christendom
IV. The Agony of Europe
V. From Luther to Calvin
VI. The Eve of War

Part III. England, Dieppe and Frankfurt. The Making of a Revolutionary
VII. From Nantes to Berwick. 1547-49
VIII. A Taste of Freedom. 1549-50
IX. The Preacher and the Politicians. 1551-54
X. The Pamphleteer. 1554
XI. The Breach with England. 1554-55

Part IV. Geneva and Scotland. The Founding of the Congregations
XII. From Geneva to Scotland. 1555
XIII. The Scotland of 1555
XIV. The Scottish Mission. 1555-56
XV. The Hesitations of a Missionary. 1557-58
XVI. The Revolutionary Goes Further. 1558
XVII. The Eve of Revolution. 1558-59

Part V. Scotland. The Patch of Glory
XVIII. Cavalcade. 1559. May-June
XIX. Intrigue. 1559. July-October
XX. Disaster and Victory. October 1559-July 1560
XXI. Reconstruction. 1560-61

Part VI. Scotland. The Barren Years
XXII. The House in Trunk Close. August 1561-August 1562
XXIII. Policies and Tactics
XXIV. The Last Campaign. August 1562-August 1565
XXV. The Long Leave-Taking. August 1565-November 1572



Endorsements and Reviews

Here is an author who has actually taken the trouble to read Knox thoroughly, who has analysed his thought with care, and who has set the biography against a firm background of sixteenth-century history. … The style is enriched with many obiter dicta of real insight, and by epigrams which do not irritate, because they are not cynical. … That the book will provoke criticism is certain. … But when every criticism has been made the book remains a most valuable piece of work, a generous but just biography based on great knowledge and informed by a discerning spirit.
J.D. Mackie, in The English Historical Review

… an immensely valuable read for any modern reader who has even a scintilla of interest in its subject. … As a writer who is able to render large ideas and complex political intrigue in short, crisp sentences that nonetheless reflect the contemplative spirit of the sixteenth century mind, Percy is able to achieve such authority in part because he isn’t afraid to let us know when he’s standing firmly on the historical record and when he’s supplying his own version of the period’s controversies.
John Walker Ross,, 16 Jan 2014

… the clarity and brilliance of the writing … give reason for adding Percy’s book to anyone’s library of the Scottish Reformation.
Donald Mackay, in The Record, June 2014

Percy’s biography is certainly recommended for students of Knox, both lay and academic, in conjunction with other readings of Knox. Moreover, this work will also be of some benefit to those interested in the Reformation in Scotland and the legacy of Knox in Scottish life.
Brent Brodie, in The Expository Times, Vol 127, No 8

Percy seeks to give a balanced view of a controversial figure …. This biography does serve as a corrective both to some of the more adulatory books written about Knox and also to some of the vitriolic attacks that others have mounted on his character.
David McKay, in The Covenanter Witness, March 2014

This biography, with a Foreword by the 13th Duke of Hamilton, does justice to this historic figure with the scientific serenity and human understanding that characterise all great historians.
Pierre Janton, in Revue D’Histoire Ecclésiastique, 2014