Article

John Foxe and the Earliest Readers of William Tyndale's The Practyse of Prelates (1530) [with illustrations]

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Bible translator and reformer William Tyndale’s The Practyse of Prelates (1530) has languished in obscurity or enjoyed a largely unfavorable reputation among most critics who have commented on it. Contemporary readers viewed this book differently. Tyndale adapted the fable of the Oak and the Briar from classical, Continental, and biblical sources as an allegory of the abuse of papal authority. When the martyrologist John Foxe adopted this specific allegory from Tyndale as partial basis for his revision of Acts and Monuments in its expanded, second edition (1570), he substantially amplified the reach of Tyndale’s ideas. Handwritten marginalia located in surviving, sixteenth-century copies of Tyndale’s book supply evidence that Tyndale’s earliest readers engaged Tyndale’s thought in a manner which supports Foxe’s use of Tyndale’s arguments.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Among the most interesting sections of William Tyndale's Practice of Prelates (1530) is his account of the medieval papacy's rise to ecclesiastical primacy and temporal power. This account, in its structure, contents and some of its imagery, closely follows a section of an anonymous Reformation tract, Vom alten und nüen Gott, Glauben und Ler (Basel, 1521). The two publications include parallel histories of the popes' dealings with the Carolingian dynasty. However, the papal narrative has a somewhat different purpose and orientation in Tyndale's work than it does in his source. In Vom alten und nüen Gott , the story of papal aggrandizement is part of an exposition of medieval distortions of Christianity, which the text contrasts with the recovered Gospel of the reformers. Seeing the difference should help 'all Chrysten men' find their way through the religious upheavals of the early sixteenth century. Whereas Vom alten und nüen Gott thus brings the papal narrative into relation to a dilemma of all Christians, The Practice of Prelates ultimately relates its narrative to a dilemma facing ,England, and England's king. In Practice, the eighthcentury popes' alliance with Frankish rulers, often against the Byzantine emperors, foreshadows Henry VIII's divorce proceedings, which Tyndale believes Wolsey instigated as an agent of a Franco-papal conspiracy against the emperor Charles V (Catherine of Aragon's nephew) and England's best interests. Tyndale adopts Vom alten und nüen Gott's papal narrative, but he also adapts it to his own purposes-as he did elsewhere with material he derived from other Continental Reformation texts. Among the most interesting sections of William Tyndale's Practice of Prelates (1530) is his account of the medieval papacy's rise to ecclesiastical primacy and temporal power. This account, in its structure, contents and some of its imagery, closely follows a section of an anonymous Reformation tract, Vom alten und nüen Gott, Glauben und Ler (Basel, 1521). The two publications include parallel histories of the popes' dealings with the Carolingian dynasty. However, the papal narrative has a somewhat different purpose and orientation in Tyndale's work than it does in his source. In Vom alten und nüen Gott , the story of papal aggrandizement is part of an exposition of medieval distortions of Christianity, which the text contrasts with the recovered Gospel of the reformers. Seeing the difference should help 'all Chrysten men' find their way through the religious upheavals of the early sixteenth century. Whereas Vom alten und nüen Gott thus brings the papal narrative into relation to a dilemma of all Christians, The Practice of Prelates ultimately relates its narrative to a dilemma facing ,England, and England's king. In Practice, the eighthcentury popes' alliance with Frankish rulers, often against the Byzantine emperors, foreshadows Henry VIII's divorce proceedings, which Tyndale believes Wolsey instigated as an agent of a Franco-papal conspiracy against the emperor Charles V (Catherine of Aragon's nephew) and England's best interests. Tyndale adopts Vom alten und nüen Gott's papal narrative, but he also adapts it to his own purposes-as he did elsewhere with material he derived from other Continental Reformation texts.
This article treats book burning and censorship in England between the 1520s and the 1640s as part of the communications repertoire of the early modern state. Combating heresy, blasphemy, and sedition, Tudor and Stuart authorities subjected transgressive works to symbolic execution at key sites in London and the universities. The addition of the hangman to the ceremony in the 1630s reinforced the authority of the state over texts. But the ritual was not always performed according to the script. Through gesture, voice, and narrative, actors and spectators sometimes subverted the ceremony, imposing a contrary meaning on its message. Even as an exercise of power, book burning was unstable and ambivalent and was ultimately counterproductive.
Article
John Foxe, the martyrologist, and John Day, the Elizabethan master printer, played central roles in the emergence of literate print culture following the death of William Tyndale, translator of the New Testament and parts of the Bible into English. In so doing, Foxe and his publisher contributed to the accepted modern belief that Protestantism and early printing reinforced each other. Foxe's revision of his biography of Tyndale in the second edition of "Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Days" (1570) and his collaboration on Day's 1573 publication of Tyndale's collected non-translation prose place intense stress upon the trio's active involvement in the English book trade. The engagement of Foxe and Day with Tyndale's publishing career exemplifies ways in which these bookmen exploited the power of the printing press to effect religious and cultural change.
Despite the universally acknowledged importance of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (popularly known as the "Book of Martyrs"), the actual text of any of the original editions of it remains largely unknown even to scholars. This is because many scholars continue to rely not on the original editions but on the more accessible unabridged Victorian editions of Foxe's book. Yet these nineteenth-century editions seriously distort Foxe's texts by concealing the differences between the various editions and through bowdlerizations, omissions, and even extensive rewriting of them. This article examines the extent and nature of the textual corruptions in the Victorian editions of the Acts and Monuments as well as describing their effects on subsequent scholarship. Finally, this article also argues that serious scholarship on Foxe's book must be based on the original editions of it, or the microfilms of these editions, and not on the distorted Victorian editions.
Article
Although scholars have come increasingly to recognise the considerable influence of early modern Catholic writers upon the historiography of the English Reformation, a crucial aspect of this influence has received scant attention: the impact of Catholic polemical writings upon perceptions of the Reformation. This article will examine a particularly striking and important example of the effects of Catholic polemic, the attacks on the calendar of martyrs included in editions of John Foxe's Acts and monuments. It will describe how these attacks merged with traditions of anti-Puritanism to create a stereotype of the Marian martyrs as being poor, from the lowest social classes, uneducated and disrespectful of authority to the point of rebellion. These attacks also laid the foundation for the myth, still prevalent today, that many of the Marian martyrs were guilty of Trinitarian or sacramentarian heresies which would have led to their condemnation as heretics even under a Protestant regime.
A Persuasion from Papistrie (1581)
  • Thomas Lupton
The only other tiny-format book still surviving in an uncut sheet that I have seen is the 128mo Kalendarium printed by Christopher Plantin in Antwerp in 1570 and now residing at the Plantin-Moretus Museum (shelf mark AR 1230
  • Eric Johnson