John William COLENSO, Bishop of NATAL -
an important figure in South African church history, representative
of mid-nineteenth century "liberal" Anglican theology; one of only
two St. Austellians mentioned in the "Who's Who" of Britain. (Samuel
Drew was the other.)
- 1814, January - born at St. Austell, Cornwall, England
- 1831-1853 --- served at a teacher and tutor,
attended St. John's College, Cambridge; served as vicar, Fornett
St. Mary in Norfolk.
- 1846, Jan ---- married
Frances Bunyon, who became the mother of his five children: Frances,
Harriette,Agnes, Robert, and Francis.
- 1854, Jan, --- arrived
in Natal to serve as the first bishop of Natal. Shortly after his arrival,
aroused by his stand on polygamy.
- 1855 ---- returned
to Natal after a stay of some months in England
- 1859 -1861 - published a grammar of the Zulu language,
a Zulu-English dictionary, manuals of instruction for
natives on history, astronomy, geography, etc.
- 1861 ---- commentary
on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, published by Colenso, was declared full
heresies by Bishop Gray of Capetown.
- 1862 ---- Colenso
published a critical examination of the Pentateuch. His radical theology
caused a controversy
that shook the Anglican Church in Natal, raising constitutional as well as doctrinal
issues. Bishop Gray, as metropolitan of Capetown, claimed to exercise coercive
jurisdiction over Bishop Colenso and the power of trying and condemning Colenso.
- 1863, Dec16 - Bishop Gray pronounced a sentence of deposition followed
by excommunication of Colenso.
Colenso appealed to the crown and the judicial committee of privy council
the whole of Gray's proceedings null and void. Colenso returned to his diocese as
the legal bishop. Controversy continued to rage as the Society for the Propagation
Gospel and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge chose to
as canonically deposed. (His pay was suspended.)
- 1864-1875 -- In general, friendly feelings toward
Colenso among the colonists increased until he took an unpopular
stand on an issue of native trouble. (Zulu called him their 'Father', as
he respected them.)
- 1883, June -- Died
Papers and records which document his thought and the controversies that he
aroused are held at Yale University, Yale Divinity School Library, New Haven,
Connecticut - Special Collections. (divinity.library <at>yale.edu) They are
organized into four sections: Writings by Colenso, Writings about Colenso,
Writings of his Family, Photographs and Memorabilia, 1864-1882.
|Last updated March
10, 2006 . In case of
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