John Burnet was born in Edinburgh on 9 December 1863 and died in St Andrews on 26 May 1928. The son of an advocate and the eldest of five children, he was educated at Edinburgh's Royal High School, the University of Edinburgh, and in 1883 went to Oxford (Balliol College), where he gained first classes in Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores. The most profound scholarly influences on him in his early years were Richard Nettleship and Ingram Bywater; to Bywater he would later attribute his vocation to classical scholarship. He left Oxford in 1887 to take an appointment for a year as personal assistant to Lewis Campbell, the beginning of an association with the University of St Andrews that would last until his death. In 1892 he succeeded Campbell in the Greek Chair (he had been interim professor from 1891 to 1892). He held this post until retirement in 1926, though he was offered a chair at Harvard in 1909, and on Bywater's retirement had in 1908 sought his Regius Chair of Greek, which went to Gilbert Murray. In 1916 he was elected fellow of the British Academy.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.