The most famous Church reformer in Scottish history, Knox’s life and work also possess a much wider international significance. A controversial figure in his lifetime and beyond, Knox has been alternatively vilified and celebrated, but remains one of the most enigmatic figures in British history. His literary influence is considerable – renowned for his religious zeal and inflammatory rhetoric, Knox’s central literary technique is a strategy of polarisation. For Knox, Catholicism is false, immoral and worldly; Protestantism is true, virtuous and heavenly. Such a schematic vision of the world is by no means uncommon in sixteenth-century rhetoric; what distinguishes Knox, however, is both the strictness of the adherence to this …

2050 words

Citation: Coleman, David. "John Knox". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2006 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

2546 John Knox 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.