Ronald Knox

(1888–1957)

Ronald Knox

Anecdote 1...

Traveling by train from Oxford to London one morning, Knox opened his copy of The Times and turned straight to the crossword puzzle, reputed to be the most difficult in the world. One of his fellow passengers, noticing that the priest had been staring at the puzzle for several minutes without filling in any of the answers, offered to lend him a pencil. “No, thanks,” replied Knox, looking up with a smile. “Just finished.”

Anecdote 2...

For three days he lay in a coma, but once Lady Eldon saw a stir of consciousness and asked whether he would like her to read to him from his own [translation of the] New Testament. He answered very faintly, but distinctly: “No,” and then after a long pause in which he seemed to have lapsed again into unconsciousness, there came from the deathbed, just audibly, in the idiom of his youth: “Awfully jolly of you to suggest it, though.”

They were his last words.

Biographical Note: 

Ronald Knox was a British Roman Catholic priest, theologian and author of detective stories. A convert to Catholicism at the age of twenty-nine, he became Roman Catholic chaplain at Oxford University in 1926. Monsignor Knox was a scholar, preacher, essayist, poet and mystery writer who, throughout his long career, always defended the common man against the elite’s latest fads and vices. Knox believed that to effectively combat modernists one must merely “trust orthodox tradition to determine what he is to believe, and common sense to determine what is orthodox tradition.” He is best known for his modern translation of The New Testament, his books relating the history of his conversion (such as A Spiritual Aeneid, 1918), and his detective stories.