Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Later Reformation in England. 1547-1603

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Later Reformation in England. 1547-1603

Article excerpt

DIARMAID MACCULLOCH. The Later Reformation in England. 1547-1603. Second edition. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Pp. x + 173, index, select bibliography. $18.95 (paper).

The new edition of The Later Reformation in England, originally published in 1990, has refined what is simply the best introduction to the latter part of the English Reformation in print. MacCulloch is the author of a number of excellent volumes on the period, including the award-winning Thomas Cranmer: A Life and the recent Tudor Church Militant: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation. He is currently Fellow of St. Cross College and Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University (and was the lead examiner of this reviewer's doctoral dissertation).

Although acutely aware of the revisionist assault on the Whiggish version of the Reformation, MacCulloch provides a balanced presentation of the various factions which existed during that turbulent period, refusing to engage in either the naive optimism of Whig historiography or the pervasive pessimism of modem revisionism. In part one, "The Will of the Prince," he supplies a political chronology of the period beginning with Edward's accession and ending with Elizabeth's death. In part two, "Building a Reformed Church," the author discusses the theological movements which shaped the people of that day. In part three, "Voluntary Religion," he summarizes recent research concerning the reception of the official reformation by the people and the dissenting groups which arose.

All three of the reigning monarchs in this period were children of Henry VIII and they mutually felt as little reluctance as their lather at enforcing their particular brands of Christianity, but experienced varying degrees of success. The efforts of Edward VI, to promote a vigorous Reformed Christianity, and of Mary I, to revive a declining Roman Catholicism, were ultimately failures, primarily clue to their short reigns. The long reign of Elizabeth I saw the construction of a "settlement' which in some sense continues to exist in the Church of England. The 1559 settlement enacted by parliament returned the religious situation to what existed in 1552, with three significant changes: reflecting the prevalent patriarchalism of that day: the Queen's title would now he "Supreme Governor rather than "Supreme Head" over the English church; the medieval vestments so despised by the more forward Protestants were not entirely rejected; and, in an attempt to mollify both Catholics and Protestants, the words pronounced by the priest at the reception of the Eucharist incorporated the statements of both the 1549 and 1552 versions of the Book of Common Prayer (26-27). …

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