Colenso, John

Colenso, John

▪ Anglican bishop of Natal, South Africa
born Jan. 24, 1814, St. Austell, Cornwall, Eng.
died June 20, 1883, Durban, Natal [now in South Africa]
 controversial liberal Anglican bishop of Natal. He made numerous converts among the Zulus, who caused him to abandon certain religious tenets and thus be subjected to trial for heresy.

      Colenso became rector of Forncett St. Mary's Church, Norfolk, in 1846 and in 1853 bishop of Natal, where he served until his death. A strict logician, he was led by questions asked by Zulu converts to doubt the historical accuracy of the Pentateuch (Torah), the first five books of the Old Testament. Arguing that the Pentateuch must have been a postexilic forgery rather than a faithful contemporary account of Jewish life, he also maintained that the numerical discrepancies found in Genesis warranted doubts concerning the historical accuracy of the Bible. For this position, presented in his Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined (1862–79), for his opposition to the doctrine of eternal punishment for sinners, and for his toleration of polygamy among the Zulus, Colenso was summoned in 1863 by his superior, Bishop Robert Gray of Cape Town, to appear before him on a charge of heresy. Colenso was convicted the next year, but in 1865 he was acquitted on appeal by the judicial committee of the church Privy Council in England, which held that because the crown was powerless to appoint a bishop in a colony possessing its own independent legislature, the royal courts could not uphold the legality of Gray's authority.

      In 1866 Colenso's right to his episcopal income was confirmed. Nevertheless, his victories were purely technical, for royal supremacy was subsequently declared invalid in South Africa. Gray's religious authority increased despite his loss of legal authority, and after the church in South Africa was recognized as autonomous, the English bishops deposed Colenso in 1869. Colenso remained at his post, beside the new bishop, ministering to a dwindling band of supporters. He also composed a grammar, a dictionary, and a New Testament translation in Zulu.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • COLENSO, JOHN WILLIAM° — (1814–1883), English Bible scholar, Anglican bishop of Natal (South Africa). In 1853 Colenso was appointed bishop of Natal, where he learned Zulu, for which he compiled a grammar and dictionary; he also translated parts of the Bible and the New… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Colenso, John William — (1814–83)    Bishop and Theologian.    Colenso was a native of Cornwall, and was educated at the University of Cambridge. After serving as a parish priest in Norfolk, he was consecrated Anglican Bishop of Natal, South Africa, in 1853. Colenso is… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Colenso, John William — (1814 1883)    Mathematician and Biblical critic, b. at St. Austell, Cornwall, and ed. at St. John s Coll., Camb., where he was a tutor, entered the Church, and pub. various mathematical treatises and Village Sermons. In 1853 he was appointed… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • COLENSO, John William — (1814 1883)    first ANGLICAN BISHOP of Natal and important pioneer of BIBLICAL CRITICISM. He gained the affection of the Zulus by refusing to compel polygamous Africans to divorce their additional wives; championing the Black cause against White …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • John William Colenso — John William Colenso. John William Colenso (St Austell, Cornouailles, 24 de enero de 1814 Durban (KwaZulu Natal), 20 de junio de 1883, fue el primer obispo anglicano de la provincia de Natal, así como matemático, teólogo y …   Wikipedia Español

  • John William Colenso — né à St Austell en Cornouailles le 24 janvier 1814 et décédé à Durban (KwaZulu Natal) le 20 juin 1883, fut le premier évêque …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Colenso — may refer to: People Elizabeth Fairburn Colenso, wife of William Colenso John William Colenso (1814–1883), first Anglican bishop of Natal, mathematician, theologian, Biblical scholar and social activist William Colenso (1811–1899), missionary,… …   Wikipedia

  • John William Colenso — Porträt Colensos von Samuel Sidley …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Colenso, KwaZulu-Natal — Colenso eSkipeni Battle site …   Wikipedia

  • Colenso (Begriffsklärung) — Colenso ist der Familienname folgender Personen: John William Colenso (1814–1883), anglikanischer Bischof des Bistums Natal in Südafrika William Colenso (1811–1899), Missionar, Botaniker und Politiker in Neuseeland, Vetter von John William… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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