religion and religious change in england, c.1470-1558 the early evangelical movement in england


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  • A MARTYR CHURCH: William TyndaleDetail:
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  • MYTH:
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  • HISTORIOGRAPHY: The Long Reformation consequences not causes: 1530-1558 neglected. Problematic isms: Reformers Evangelicals not Protestants. Conservatives not Catholics. Revisionism: a vibrant LMC = Reformation as an Act of State: (Rex) Friars often crucial converts. Top Down vs Bottom Up too simplistic. Easily to see as more coherent than it actually was: (Ryrie) Christian Liberty a reckless appeal unwanted followers
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  • THINKING POINTS: Early Reformation different ideas, different views and different reformers. How they interacted with one another, the wider population and the monarchy is crucial. Contradictory, complex and not easily integrated into a narrative.
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  • INITIAL REACTIONS TO LUTHER IN ENGLAND: Vigorous declaration of orthodoxy. Pope Leo X formally condemned Luther 1521: London, 12 th May: public bonfire of Luthers books Vehement sermon by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. Dipolmatic opportunity foreign ambassadors: Catholicism and monarchy. Cardinal Wolsey trying to become a Papal Legate. Henry VIII 1521 book against Luther : Assertio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum. Latin and German editions Big hit, more as a result of magnitude of author than quality of its contents. Luther responded by calling Henry a pig and a drunkard Fidei Defensor Defender of the Faith. No Lutherans as yet in England: Sporadic evidence of books circulating. Only real point of entry 1520s through trade routes particularly German ones: Mid 1520s, handful of accusations for heresy which seemed to smack of Lutheran ideas. WAS THIS ANY DIFFERENT TO THE REST OF EUOPE?
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  • ROBERT BARNES Leader of the evangelicals in England: Augustinian Friar (like Luther). Christmas Eve, 1525: preached a sweeping indictment of the state of the Church (very anti Wolsey): Interrogated by Wolsey House arrest two years only escaped after faking his own suicide in 1528. Became close friend of Luther in Germany. Sermon a starting point? Heroic and defiant, an English equivalent of Luther nailing 95 Thesis to church door in Wittenberg. But more typical than inspirational. Oxford/Cambridge this was, primarily, a theological issue. In that sense distinct from Germany/ Switzerland: Not tied into social and political issues from the get-go.
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  • Thomas Bilney: Inspired by reading Erasmuss translations of the New Testament Not be Lutheran in the fullest sense But, crucially, begin to QUESTION Richard Nix (1530): priests graduating Cambridge: savoureth the frying pan. WHATS IN A QUESTION?
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  • PISS & VINEGAR: Zeal rocked the boat - but not yet completely incompatible with it. Robert Forman, former master of Queens College, Cambridge, became a rector in London. With his curate Thomas Garrett, network for distribution of heretical books. Customer list a whos-who of English and continental evangelicalism.
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  • RENAISSANCE & HUMANISM: Evangelism part of Englands Renaissance. Humanism a problematic term: C19th Secularist overtones Renaissance C14th Petrarch: Rebirth/Rediscovery Civilisation in decline since the fall of Rome. Civic Humanism look to Greece/Rome for inspiration.
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  • THE POWER OF READING CHALLENGING AUTHORITY Significant ramifications for patterns of thought and university education: Sections of traditional scholarship which medieval universities considered to be of secondary importance poetry, oratory, rhetoric (arts of persuasion by writing). Lovers of words. Belief that more educate/learned, more human. Words and learning could make society better, by way of truth and virtue. Words that inspired such thought in ancient texts. Great treasure hunt of archives to interpret and learn from old sources Plato rediscovered Caballa Islamic medicine Obsession with texts. Way in which Latin written changed pages are physically different. Rejuvenation in classical architecture and sculpture matched by a transformation in arts of writing and learning. Authenticity key: Historical study of texts became more important. Idea of source criticism had its origins here. Challenge to authenticity of pillars of power bases. Donation of Constantine. Claim that on his conversion to Christianity in the C4th Emperor Constantine had given the Papacy powers over all the known earth. Significant foundation of Papal supremacy. Document on which based shown to be an C8th fraud by Lorenzo Valla in 1440 Juan Luis Vives later tutor to Mary I disproved much of the material in collections of saints lives. NONE OF THIS INEVITABLY LEADS TO PROTESTANTISM! NONE OF THIS INEVITABLY LEADS TO PROTESTANTISM!
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  • Most significant challenge: Erasmuss New Testament (1516). Vulgate bible shown to be full of errors. Most comical - Exodus 34: Hebrew describes Mosess face as shining as he came from Mount Sinai with the 10 Commandments Latin Vulgate as horny. Artistic depictions with horns. Shock of hearing Christs words in a new voice and with new meanings was seismic. Whole authority of Western Church for 1000 years now challenged. PURIFYING THE BIBLE:
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  • No intention here of overthrowing. Rather, of enthusing with truth and piety. Schism was unthinkable. Many humanists pivotal in the Church. C15th Pope Pius II (Silvio dePiccolomini) Bishops and Cardinals patrons of humanists. England universities benefitted: Bishop Fox of Winchester founded Corpus Christi, Oxford. Wolsey founded Christ Church. Cambridge Christs and Jesus benefitted from similar patronage. Directed into the Church, not against it. BREAKDOWN NOT INEVITABLE:
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  • THOMAS MORE Great defender of Church from early Reformers but cut from the same cloth as them: Would have been a cleric if not so much pressure from family to become a lawyer. Household full of humanist learning: Patron of arts A great wit Patron of a republic of letters Part of a European-wide circle of learning Erasmus considered a friend. John Colet (Dean of St. Pauls), Thomas Linacre, William Lily: Men keen to revitalize theology through their study of Greek language and classic culture. Key: devotional practices/piety in the world: Previously been the ideal of monks cloistered away from it. Utopia, satirizes European society for lacking Christian piety and charity. Authored works of lay piety/ verse/ translations of famous spiritual works/ Augustines letters. More demanding levels of self-examination than previously expected. Urge to reform present here to rejuvenate a Church which devoted to. Involvement with Carthusians in London. Devotional circles, circulation of spiritual works. That zeal seen in writings against Luther during 1520s: Defend Henry VIII from Luthers attack Responsio ad Lutheran (1523) Issue - sola scriptura: Denied the validity of Catholic tradition, and undermined the sacramental system of the church. More's defence relied on the Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit preserved and guided the church both through scripture and through tradition As a visible institution containing all Christians, the church operated by Spirit-guided consensus, not individual persuasion. Essentially: the Church was Christs Body, and His spirit must therefore be present in it.
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  • That fundamental and impassioned belief in the Truth of the Church as an historical institution would be point of disputation with another man equally devoted to Erasmus, to classical learning and to the revitalisation of Christendom: WILLIAM TYNDALE
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  • WILLIAM TYNDALE: Priest from Gloucesteshire - studied at Oxford. Attracted to Erasmuss piety & began to translate his works into English during the mid- 1520s. Popular scripture gripped him idea of piety through reading. 1523 - translating New Testament into English (illegal ) Nave times changing: Asked Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London, for support Tunstall a friend of Erasmus. Denied fact allowed to stay London a sign that Tyndale not understood to be a heretic at this point. Tyndale left for the continent dodging attempts to catch him on Colonge to finally publish his English New Testament at Worms in 1526. Translated from Greek, following the practice of Erasmus. Basis for almost all versions which follow in English up to 1611 King James Bible. Small size, easy to smuggle, for Word to be disseminated in England: Reading not necessarily = Protestant, But certainly seen as heretical - Tunstall seized and burnt in London. Impact: read Scripture hear the Word of God first time in native tongue: Very sensual accounts, drama of that impact for some. New criteria simple but powerful: Did the practices of the Church find their sanction in that Word? Empowering, because it gave people admittedly small numbers at this stage ability to question.
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  • LABELLING TYNDALE: Problem of definition: was he a Lutheran or a Protestant? Where do you draw the line? Or is there scope for movement and discussion around a body of key issue