John Mair Major

John Mair (or Major) / Philosophers and Historians

One of a large number of Scots who became renowned for their teaching of logic & philosophy.

Born in Gleghornie near Haddington, East Lothian, John Mair studied briefly at Cambridge before living in Paris for some time. He returned to Scotland, teaching there from 1518-25, first at Glasgow, then at St Andrews. He taught scholastic logic and theology, and although his methods, and those of similar bent from Scotland, were regarded as old-fashioned by many Europeans, in some ways they were in fact ahead of their time.

There were also a rather large number of such smarties for such a small country. Perhaps something to do with the long winter nights.

In 1521 he wrote Historia Maioris Britanniae, in which he favoured the union of Scotland and England. In St Andrews, he was Provost of St Salvator's College in 1533. John Knox, who was one of his pupils, held him in high regard. Mair did not live to see the Reformation, but would no doubt have had some interesting observations on it. He had made comments on the abuse of the Church, and in Paris Jean Calvin was probably a pupil.

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