Protestant Country

George Bernard

  • Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher edited by Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy
    Cambridge, 260 pp, £27.50, January 1989, ISBN 0 521 34034 9
  • The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation by Robert Whiting
    Cambridge, 302 pp, £30.00, July 1989, ISBN 0 521 35606 7
  • The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485-1603 by Stanford Lehmberg
    Princeton, 319 pp, £37.30, March 1989, ISBN 0 691 05539 4
  • Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England by David Cressy
    Weidenfeld, 271 pp, £25.00, October 1989, ISBN 0 297 79343 8
  • The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the 16th and 17th Centuries by Patrick Collinson
    Macmillan, 188 pp, £29.50, February 1989, ISBN 0 333 43971 6
  • Life’s Preservative against Self-Killing by John Sym, edited by Michael MacDonald
    Routledge, 342 pp, £29.95, February 1989, ISBN 0 415 00639 2
  • Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 by Nigel Smith
    Oxford, 396 pp, £40.00, February 1989, ISBN 0 19 812879 7

Henry VIII’s jurisidictional quarrel with the Papacy was not resolved, and its consequences are with us still. In Henry’s eyes the dispute was one of authority, not doctrine, but doctrinal questions soon became involved. His quarrel coincided with religious ferment on the Continent and with the emergence of religious diversity in England, as the religious teachings of Luther and Zwingli spread in the late 1520s and early 1530s. But for the divorce, Henry would no doubt have continued to stand firm against heresy, and he might well have been successful. But once he had broken with Rome and asserted his royal supremacy over the Church, he relaxed his persecution of dissent. He needed his royal supremacy preached up and down the land. And who better to preach it than Thomas Cranmer or Hugh Latimer, full of Continental learning, opposed to Papal pretensions, and keen to see Henry as a godly prince who would destroy idolatry and embrace true religion. Henry had not intended to go so far along that road of reformation, but he had unleashed a process that proved lasting.

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