A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Colenso, John William

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 first Bishop of Natal. He mastered the Zulu language, introduced printing, wrote a Zulu grammar and dictionary, and many useful reading-books for the natives. His Commentary on the Romans (1861) excited great opposition from the High Church party, and his Critical Examination of the Pentateuch (1862-1879), by its then extreme views, created great alarm and excitement. He was in 1863 deposed and excommunicated by Bishop Gray of Cape Town, but confirmed in his see by the Courts of Law. His theological writings are now largely superseded; but his mathematical text-books, for the writing of which he was much better equipped, hold their place.