Cheke, Sir John

born June 16, 1514
died Sept. 13, 1557, London, Eng.

English humanist.

A supporter of the Reformation, he was named professor of Greek at Cambridge University by Henry VIII and knighted by Edward VI. With his friend, the statesman Thomas Smith (1513–77), he ably defended the historical pronunciation of Attic Greek, introduced by Erasmus, in opposition to the post-Classical pronunciation that was then the norm. Cheke was imprisoned briefly on the accession of Mary I; he fled abroad but was captured in the Netherlands in 1556 and confined to the Tower of London. He recanted Protestantism to avoid execution and died the following year, allegedly depressed by his forced abjuration.

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▪ British scholar
Cheke also spelled  Cheek  
born June 16, 1514
died Sept. 13, 1557, London, Eng.
 English humanist and supporter of the Protestant Reformation who, as the poet John Milton said, “taught Cambridge and King Edward Greek” and who, with his friend Sir Thomas Smith, discovered the proper pronunciation of ancient Greek. Through his teaching he made the University of Cambridge the centre of the “new learning” and the Reformed religion. Henry VIII made him the first regius professor of Greek at Cambridge, and Edward VI knighted him in 1552.

      On the accession of Mary I (1553), Cheke lost the last of a series of government positions, was imprisoned briefly, and fled abroad. There he published his letters on Greek pronunciation. In 1556 he was captured in Belgium and confined to the Tower of London. Faced with death, he recanted his Protestantism publicly and is said to have died of shame.

      One of the most erudite men of his time, Cheke was an indefatigable translator. His English works are of little importance, except for their avoidance of foreign words and for his reformed phonetic spelling, which make his letters some of the best plain prose of the period.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Cheke, Sir John — (16 jun. 1514–13 sep. 1557, Londres, Inglaterra). Humanista inglés. Partidario de la Reforma, fue nombrado profesor de griego en la Universidad de Cambridge por Enrique VIII y Eduardo VI le confirió el título de caballero. Junto con su amigo, el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • CHEKE, SIR JOHN —    a zealous Greek scholar, born at Cambridge, and first regius professor of Greek there; did much to revive in England an interest in Greek and Greek literature; was tutor to Edward VI., who granted him landed estates; favouring the cause of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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