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John Sparrow

(1615—1665) translator and lawyer


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John Sparrow was born in Stambourne, Essex on 12 May 1615. The time and circumstances of his death are unknown. In 1633 Sparrow was admitted to the Inner Temple and was subsequently called to the Bar. He was translator and interpreter of the writings of Jacob Boehme. Although his were not the first English translations of Boehme's writings, he was the first to aim at a complete and faithful rendering of them. Between 1647 and 1661 the whole body of Boehme's works appeared in English, with introductions and notes. The work was done by Sparrow and his collaborators, John Ellistone, his ‘dear kinsman’ (d. 1652) and the printer Henry Blunden. The events of Sparrow's life are unreported. He does not seem to have been a member of the sect of Behmenists, but in a Behmenist poem, Mundorum explicatio (1661), the author, John Pordage, praises the ‘learned Sparrow’ and predicts that he will share in Boehme's ascending glory. In his introductions he alludes to harsh critics (these included Richard Baxter, John Hales and Henry More), but mentions no consequent hardship.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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