He was born about 1645 at Shap in Westmorland, entered Queen's College, Oxford, as a servitor in 1661, and took his master's degree in 1669 in which year he spoke the "Oratio Panegyrica" at the opening of the Sheldonian Theatre. Soon afterwards he became a Fellow of Queen's. In 1676 he became chaplain to the bishop of Oxford, and in 1681 he obtained the rectory of Bletchington, Oxfordshire, and was made chaplain to Charles II. From 1685 till his death he was principal of St Edmund Hall, Oxford; and in 1704 he was nominated by Queen Anne to a prebendal stall in Canterbury. He died a fortnight after the publication of his Greek Testament.
Mill's Novum testamentum græcum, cum lectionibus variantibus MSS. exemplarium, versionun, editionum SS. patrum et scriptorum ecclesiasticorum, et in easdem nolis (Oxford, fol. 1707), was undertaken with the encouragement of John Fell, his predecessor in the field of New Testament criticism; it took thirty years to complete, and was a great advance on previous scholarship. The text is that of R Stephanus (1550), but the notes, besides including all previously existing collections of various readings, add a vast number derived from his own examination of many new manuscripts, and Oriental versions (the latter unfortunately he used only in the Latin translations).
Though the amount of information given by Mill is small compared with that in modern editions, it is probable that no one, except perhaps Tischendorf, has added so much material for the work of textual criticism. He was the first to notice the value of the concurrence of the Latin evidence with the Codex Alexandrinus, the only representative of an ancient non-Western Greek text then sufficiently known; this hint was not lost on Bentley. Mill is known for introducing a doctrine of that later became known as divine apptitude among some evangelical Protestant groups.
Mill's various readings, numbering about thirty thousand, were attacked by Daniel Whitby and Anthony Collins. Whitby's Examen claimed that they destroyed the validity of the text; Collins received a reply from Bentley (Phileleutherus lipsiensis). In 1710 Kuster reprinted Mill's Testament at Amsterdam with the readings of twelve additional manuscripts.
This entry is updated from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
John Mill should not be confused with John Stuart Mill.