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John William Colenso letters, 1863-1864

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/gs65c

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Colenso, John William, 1814-1883.
Title: John William Colenso letters, 1863-1864
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 294
Extent: 0.01 cubic ft. (1 folder)
Abstract:Consists of two letters written by Colenso during the controversy over his book about the Pentateuch.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

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Unrestricted access.

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All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], John William Colenso Letters, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Sarah Smith, 2004.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

John William Colenso, radical biblical critic and bishop in the Church of England, was born in Cornwall on January 24, 1814. Although mathematics was his first love, he was also taken with the study of religion and soon joined the ministry. Named Bishop of Natal in 1853, he went to Africa, where the natives’ lives and questions prompted him to take a more radical view of the Bible. As a result of his revolutionary ideas, in 1863 he was excommunicated by Bishop Gray in Capetown. Although this judgment was argued, the issue was never completely settled. Colenso wrote several books including Commentary of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, and The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined, as well as a grammar and dictionary of Zulu and a Zulu translation of the Prayer Book. He died June 20, 1883.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of two letters. The two letters were written by Colenso during the controversy over his book about the Pentateuch. One seems to be a response to a critique about his work, while the other is a letter of brief thanks to Professor DeMorgan.