He was educated at Christ's Hospital and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was in 1825 appointed professor of Greek in the university and canon of Ely (1849). He was for some time curate to Charles Simeon, the evangelical churchman, and his low church views involved him in disputes with his own parishioners at St Michael's, Cambridge, of which he was perpetual curate from 1823 till his death at Hastings on 4 April 1853.
Scholefield was an excellent teacher. His most useful work was his edition of the Adversaria of PP Dobree, his predecessor in the chair of Greek. He also published editions of Aeschylus (1828), in which he dealt very conservatively with the text, and of Porson's four plays of Euripides. His Hints for an improved Translation of the New Testament met with considerable success. He was one of the examiners in the first Classical Tripos (1824). The Scholefield Theological Prize at Cambridge was established in commemoration of him in 1856.
See Memoirs of James Scholefield (1855), by his wife, Harriet Scholefield; Gentleman's Magazine (June 1853, p. 644).
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