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Reviewing this book is a challenge. The ‘handbook’ genre falls somewhere between that of an encyclopedia and that of the textbook but without the overall coverage, both of topics and details, of the former nor the communications-driven ‘narrative arc’ of the latter.
As Anna Bayman notes in her excellent new monograph, ‘[a] book about Thomas Dekker could [...] be a book about almost anything’ (p. 3). Tackling this prolific and somewhat elusive writer brings with it a host of difficulties. Dekker’s writings are generically and formally diverse, embedded within the political and moral concerns of early modern London.
The writings of John Wyclif (c.1330–84) do not make for easy reading.
Gunther’s detailed and persuasive study traces the development of radical Protestant thought in England through the mid and late 16th century. His work is a corrective to views that the tensions marking Puritanism and those holding more radical views of the church with those who supported the established church, came about only with the rise of the Puritan movement.
As Hugh Thomas points out in his introduction to The Secular Clergy in England, the secular clergy of medieval England are an unjustly neglected group.
Have pity upon poor Andrew Melville. Once he was a towering figure in Presbyterian Scotland, John Knox’s successor as a leader of men, chastiser of proud monarchy and preacher of the truth. A student at St Andrews at the time of the Scottish Reformation, Melville spent a decade studying and teaching in France and Geneva.
The volume’s stated aim is to investigate the influence of Christian theology and religious beliefs on Anglo-Saxon society. In doing so Foxhall Forbes endeavours to show the wider population’s engagement with Christian theology, which has usually been regarded as the preserve of the educated elite.
The life of Archbishop of Armagh James Ussher (1581–1656) as primate, politician and intellectual heavyweight, offers a rich subject for study.
Whilst first and foremost a literary scholar who focuses on the work of John Milton (1608–74), David Loewenstein has, in recent years, done much to undertake and encourage interdisciplinary research into the religio-political culture of early modern England.
John Edwards’s new biography of Cardinal Reginald Pole, part of Ashgate’s Archbishops of Canterbury Series, is a magnificent example of first-rate historical scholarship. Reginald Pole is no easy subject.