Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford

Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford

Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford

Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford

Excerpt

A visitor to the Upper Reading Room in the Bodleian Library may find his eye drawn upward to the frieze of painted heads which surrounds the walls. A detailed inspection will reveal a procession of worthies, Christian saints and fathers, Greek and Roman writers, medieval schoolmen, heroes of the Renaissance, lawyers and scientists, reformers and divines, selected and arranged at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Thomas James, Bodley's first Librarian, to form two elaborate sequences illustrating secular and divine learning. Conspicuously placed over the Tower Arch, a succession of theologians marks a break in the carefully-contrived pattern of faces. In the most prominent position of all, above the keystone, is John Reynolds, fellow and later President of Corpus Christi College, a friend of Thomas Bodley, literary opponent of Cardinal Bellarmine, and a translator of the Authorized Version. On his right is Lawrence Humphrey, President of Magdalen 1561-89, and once Bodley's tutor. For Thomas James, these two divines may have epitomized the Oxford contribution to the united protestant front against Rome. In this study, they also emerge as the most significant figures in the university's claim to be part of what Reynolds himself called 'the Reformed Church of England'. Elizabethan Oxford, though still a closed society and conservatively religious in character, developed in the course of the reign a cherished place within the European reformed tradition, not narrowly Calvinist and Genevan, but inspired by a variety of continental protestant centres. In the Bodleian frieze, Reynolds and Humphrey are framed by Erasmus and Luther on their right, and on their left by du Jon (Junius), the Antwerp pastor, Zanchius, the reformer of Heidelberg, and Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde (Marnaeus), the moderate Dutch Calvinist. James was again no doubt principally concerned with their solidarity as opponents of papist corruption. They . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.