John Jortin

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John Jortin (23 October 1698 – 5 September 1770) was an English church historian.


Jortin was the son of Renatus Jordain, a French Huguenot refugee and government official, and Martha Rogers, daughter of Daniel Rogers.[1][2] He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became a Fellow in 1721. He was Rede lecturer at Cambridge in 1724,[3] and Boyle lecturer in 1749.[4] A churchman, he held various benefices, becoming in 1764 Archdeacon of London.[4]


Jortin briefly (1731-2) established a magazine, Miscellaneous Observations upon Authors, Ancient and Modern, in which he wrote on Spenser and Milton.[1] Discourses Concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion (1746) was a work of Christian apologetics. His Remarks on Ecclesiastical History (5 vols, 1751‑73), has been labelled "the most significant Anglican ecclesiastical history of the eighteenth century"; written "from a markedly latitudinarian perspective", it was respected by Gibbon.[1]

Jortin mostly avoided controversy, though a dissertation on Virgil's treatment of the dead, by conflicting with Warburton's treatment, drew attack from Warburton's disciple Richard Hurd.[1] A two-volume Life of Erasmus (1758, 1760) drew upon Jean Le Clerc: "Jortin was in many ways a late representative of Christian humanism, as well as an active citizen in the protestant republic of letters".[1] Jortin published other miscellaneous pamphlets and tracts, and seven volumes of sermons appeared after his death. All his works showed learning, and were written in a lively style.

A collection of three volumes of his works was printed in 1805 and can be found at Internet Archive:


  1. ^ a b c d e B. W. Young, ‘Jortin, John (1698–1770)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 24 Oct 2008
  2. ^ s:Rogers, Daniel (1573-1652) (DNB00)
  3. ^ Sir Robert Rede's Lecturers (and Mathematical Lecturers)
  4. ^ a b "Jortin, John (JRTN715J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 

 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 

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