John Rainolds (or Reynolds) (1549 – 21 May 1607) was an English academic and churchman, of Puritan views. He is remembered for his role in the Authorized Version of the Bible, a project of which he was initiator.
He was born about Michaelmas 1549 at Pinhoe, near Exeter. He was fifth son of Richard Rainolds; William Rainolds was his brother. His uncle Thomas Rainolds held the living of Pinhoe from 1530 to 1537, and was subsequently Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and Dean of Exeter. John Rainolds appears to have entered the University of Oxford originally at Merton, but on 29 April 1563 he was elected to a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, where two of his brothers, Hierome and Edmond, were already fellows. He became probationary fellow on 11 October 1566, and full fellow two years subsequently. On 15 October 1568 he graduated B.A.; and about this time he was assigned as tutor to Richard Hooker.
In 1572-73 Rainolds was appointed reader in Greek, and his lectures on Aristotle's Rhetoric made his reputation. In 1576 he objected to the proposal that Antonio de Corro should be allowed to proceed Doctor of Divinity; and at the same time he was instrumental in having Francesco Pucci expelled from the university, Pucci being an associate and ally of Corro, who had moved against orthodox Calvinist positions.
Rainolds resigned his readership in 1578, and then his fellowship in 1586, through inability to agree with the president William Cole, and became a tutor at Queen's College. In the same year Rainolds was appointed to a temporary lectureship, founded by Sir Francis Walsingham, for anti-Catholic polemical theology.
In 1589 the Regius Chair of Divinity at Oxford fell vacant. Rainolds had reason to anticipate the position would be his. But the Queen objected, and Thomas Holland was appointed. Rainolds's lectureship was continued by Walsingham.
By this time he had acquired a considerable reputation as a disputant on the Puritan side, and the story goes that Elizabeth I visiting the university in 1592 "schooled him for his obstinate preciseness, willing him to follow her laws, and not run before them."
In 1593 Rainolds was made dean of Lincoln College, Oxford and/or of Lincoln Cathedral. The fellows of Corpus were anxious to replace Cole by Rainolds, and an exchange was effected, Rainolds being elected president in December 1598.
The chief events of his subsequent career were his share in the Hampton Court Conference, where he was the most prominent representative of the Puritan party and received a good deal of favour from the king. He died of consumption on 21 May 1607, leaving a great reputation for scholarship and high character.
- De Romanae ecclesiae idolatria (1596), dedicated to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, supporter of his theology lectures.
In the King James Version, he himself worked with the company who undertook the translation of the Prophets.
- "Rainolds, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Secor, Philip Bruce (1999) Richard Hooker: Prophet of Anglicanism, p. 96.
- Lawrence D. Green, John Rainolds's Oxford Lectures (1986), p. 33; Google Books
- Paul E. J. Hammer, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: the political career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-1597 (1999), p. 301 note 165; Google Books.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Rainolds, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- J. W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Latin Writing of the Age, Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990.
- Lawrence D. Green, "Introduction," John Rainolds's Oxford Lectures on Aristotles Rhetoric, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1986.
- Mordechai Feingold and Lawrence D. Green, "John Rainolds," British Rhetoricians and Logicians, 1500-1660, Second Series, DLB 281, Detroit: Gale, 2003, pp. 249–259.
- Feingold, Mordechai. "Rainolds , John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23029. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
|President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford