John Norris (philosopher)

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For other men of the same name, see John Norris (disambiguation).

John Norris, sometimes called John Norris of Bemerton, (1657–1711) was an English theologian, philosopher and poet associated with the Cambridge Platonists.


John Norris was born at Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire. He was educated at Winchester School, and Exeter College, Oxford, gaining a B.A. in 1680. He was later appointed a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (M.A. 1684). He lived a quiet life as a country parson and thinker at Fugglestone St Peter with Bemerton, Wiltshire, from 1692 until his death in 1711.


In philosophy he was a Platonist and mystic. He became an early opponent of John Locke, whose An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) he attacked in Christian Blessedness or Discourses upon the Beatitudes in the same year; he also combatted Locke's theories in his Essay toward the Theory of the Ideal or Intelligible World (1701-4). He attacked religious schism in Christian Blessedness and The Charge of Schism, Continued.

Others among his 23 works are An Idea of Happiness (1683), Miscellanies (1687), Theory and Regulation of Love (1688), and a Discourse concerning the Immortality of the Soul (1708). His most popular work is A Collection of Miscellanies, consisting of Poems, Essays, Discourses and Letters (1687).


  • Richard Acworth (1979), The philosophy of John Norris of Bemerton: (1657-1712) (Studien und Materialien zur Geschichte der Philosophie : Kleine Reihe ; Bd. 6)
  • Selections from the Worlds Devotional Classics

External links[edit]

JuneYang, "John Norris", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource