That his appeal was ineffective in his own time is not surprising, very few people would even have read it. Continuing this practice in academic analyses is being questioned, particularly in light of Foxe's explicit denial. I wrote no such booke bearying the title Booke of Martyrs. I wrote a booke called the Acts and Monumentes There is also evidence that the "martyr" title referred only to the abridgments, as used by John Milner , no friend to Foxe, whose major work Milner situates at the centre of efforts to "inflame hatred" against Catholics in the eighteenth century.
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We find the lying Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, with large wooden prints of men and women, encompassed with faggots and flames in every leaf of them, chained to the desks of many county churches, whilst abridgements of this inflammatory work are annually issued from the London press under the title of The Book of Martyrs. Foxe's account of church history asserted a historical justification that was intended to establish the Church of England as a continuation of the true Christian church rather than as a modern innovation, and it contributed significantly to encourage nationally endorsed repudiation of the Catholic Church.
The sequence of the work, initially in five books, covered first early Christian martyrs , a brief history of the medieval church, including the Inquisitions , and a history of the Wycliffite or Lollard movement. The final book treated the reign of Queen Mary and the Marian Persecutions. John Foxe died in His text, however, continued to grow. The edition was cheaply done, with few changes, but for the printing Foxe added a "Discourse of the Bloody Massacre In France [St. Day, ]" and other short pieces.
The fifth edition was essentially a reprint of the edition. The next editor, however, followed Foxe's example and in brought the work "up to the time of King James" and included a retelling of the French massacre. The edition added a topical outline and chronology, along with a "continuation of the foreign martyrs; additions of like persecutions in these later times" which included the Spanish invasion , and the Gunpowder Plot The editor for the edition brought it to "the time of Charles, now King",and added a new copperplate portrait of John Foxe to accompany Simeon Foxe 's "Life" of his father.
The most "sumptuous" edition of anticipated James with gilt-edged, heavy bond paper and copperplate etchings that replaced worn-out woodcut illustrations. As edition followed edition, Actes and Monuments or "Foxe" began to refer to an iconic series of texts; unless constrained by a narrow band of time, Acts and Monuments has always referred to more than a single edition.
The popular influence of the text declined, and by the nineteenth century it had narrowed to include mainly scholars and evangelicals. It was still sufficiently popular among them to warrant at least fifty-five printings of various abridgements in only a century, and to generate scholarly editions and commentary. Debate about Foxe's veracity and the text's contribution to anti-Catholic propaganda continued.
Actes and Monuments survived whole primarily within academic circles, with remnants only of the original text appearing in abridgements, generically called The Book of Martyrs , or plain Foxe. Some copies, including that presented to Matthew Parker , were hand-coloured. Foxe began his work in , during the reign of Edward VI. Over the next thirty years, it developed from small beginnings in Latin to a substantial compilation, in English, filling two large folio volumes.
Foxes Book of Martyrs
In , in exile, Foxe published in Latin at Strasbourg a foreshadowing of his major work, emphasising the persecution of the English Lollards during the fifteenth century; and he began to collect materials to continue his story to his own day. Foxe published the version in Latin at Basel in August , lacking sources, with the segment dealing with the Marian martyrs as [ disputed for: John Foxe made a reputation through his Latin works. Foxe did not publish these works; but a second volume to the Basel version was written by Henry Pantaleon Publication of the book made Foxe famous; the book sold for more than ten shillings, three weeks' pay for a skilled craftsman, but with no royalty to the author.
The second edition appeared in , much expanded. New material was available, including personal testimonies,  and publications such as the edition of Jean Crespin 's Geneva martyrology. Harding, in the spirit of the age, called Acts and Monuments ' "that huge dunghill of your stinking martyrs," full of a thousand lies'. Where he could rebut the charges, "he mounted a vigorous counter-attack, seeking to crush his opponent under piles of documents. The edition was well received by the English church, and the upper house of the convocation of Canterbury, meeting in , ordered that a copy of the Bishop's Bible and "that full history entitled Monuments of Martyrs" be installed in every cathedral church and that church officials place copies in their houses for the use of servants and visitors.
The decision repaid the financial risks taken by Day. Foxe published a third edition in , but it was virtually a reprint of the second, although printed on inferior paper and in smaller type. It seems safe to say that it is the largest and most complicated book to appear during the first two or three centuries of English printing history. The title page included the poignant request that the author "desireth thee, good reader, to help him with thy prayer. The first abridgment appeared in Offered only two years after Foxe's death, it honoured his life and was a timely commemorative for the English victory against the Spanish Armada Based with greater or lesser degrees of exactitude on the original Acts and Monuments , yet influenced always by it, editors continued to tell its tale in both popular and academic venues although a different tale was told to each gathering.
The majority of the editors knew Foxe's text as a martyrology. Taking their material primarily from the final two books of Acts and Monuments that is, volume II of the edition , they generated derived texts that genuinely were "Book s of Martyrs". Famous scenes from Acts and Monuments , in illustrated text, were revived for each new generation. The earliest printed book bearing the title Book of Martyrs , however, appears to be John Taylor's edition in While occurring again periodically, that title was not much in use before , and not regularized as the title of choice before The title, Foxe's Book of Martyrs where the author's name reads as if part of the title appears first in John Kennedy's edition, possibly as a printing error.
Characterized by some scholars as "Foxe's bastards", these Foxe-derived texts have received attention as the medium through which Foxe and his ideas influenced popular consciousness. Very little, still, is known about any of these editions. The author's credibility was challenged as soon as the book first appeared. Detractors accused Foxe of dealing falsely with the evidence, of misusing documents, and of telling partial truths.
In every case that he could clarify, Foxe corrected errors in the second edition and third and fourth, final version for him. In the early nineteenth century the charges were taken up again by a number of authors, most importantly Samuel Roffey Maitland. Mozley maintained that Foxe preserved a high standard of honesty, arguing that Foxe's method of using his sources "proclaims the honest man, the sincere seeker after truth. If not the father of lies, Foxe was thought to be the master of inventions, and so readers of the Encyclopedia [ sic ] Britannica were advised and warned.
Foxe based his accounts of martyrs before the early modern period on previous writers, including Eusebius , Bede , Matthew Paris , and many others. He compiled an English martyrology from the period of the Lollards through to the persecution of Protestants by Mary I. Here Foxe had primary sources to draw on: Cooper who became a Church of England Bishop strongly objected to Crowley's version of his history and soon issued two new "correct" editions.
Foxe's book is in no sense an impartial account of the period. He did not hold to later centuries' notions of neutrality or objectivity, but made unambiguous side glosses on his text, such as "Mark the apish pageants of these popelings" and "This answer smelleth of forging and crafty packing. He makes no attempt to make martyrs out of Wyatt and his followers, or anyone else who was executed for treason, except George Eagles, whom he describes as falsely accused.
Lee also listed some specific errors and suggested that John Foxe plagiarized. Freeman observes that, like a hypothetical barrister, Foxe had to deal with the evidence of what actually happened, evidence that he was rarely in a position to forge. But he would not present facts damaging to his client, and he had the skills that enabled him to arrange the evidence so as to make it conform to what he wanted it to say.
Like the barrister, Foxe presents crucial evidence and tells a side of the story which must be heard, but his text should never be read uncritically, and his partisan objectives should always be kept in mind. By the end of the 17th century, however, the work tended to be abbreviated to include only "the most sensational episodes of torture and death" thus giving to Foxe's work "a lurid quality which was certainly far from the author's intention.
It is true that Acts and Monuments "tended to be abbreviated". The second part of the claim, however, is in error. It could be simply deleted as an error, but it repeats and elaborates William Haller's second thesis as if a fact, that the later Foxe-derived abridgements had lost entirely intellect's levening influence. The "Elect Nation" was Haller's first thesis. Haller read through some of the Foxe-derived martyrologies, editions by Martin Maden , John Milner and John Wesley , and observed "a progressive corruption and vulgarization of the original for the propagation of an increasingly narrow Protestant piety".
William Haller did not refer to "sensational episodes of torture and death", nor did he report on any texts reduced "only" to such matter. Neither has any specific edition been exhibited as proof, yet, it is conventionally believed and so frequently asserted that Sydney Lee, and Thomas Freeman after him, state it as a true overgeneralization. Thus, it should not be deleted as a simple error in fact, even if it is wrong. A scan of the titles for Foxe-derived editions make the claim unlikely, and Reflexive Foxe: The 'Book of Martyrs' Transformed , prove it false; findings supported by Haller and Wooden's less comprehensive glimpses into the later abridgments.
Acts and Monuments was cannibalized for material to warn of the dangers of Catholicism and, in Foxe's name, also to undermine resurgent High Church Anglicanism. The author's credibility and the text's reliability became suspect, then, for both Catholic and Anglican Church defenders. John Milner, defender of the "old religion" Catholicism , authored several tracts, pamphlets, essays, and Letters to the Editor: Milner's life project to discredit "Foxe" was polemical—that was the point of arguing: Before the Houses of Parliament in the years of Milner's and others activism, were bills for relieving English Catholics of tax penalties for being Catholic , having to tithe to the Anglican Church, and relief from imposition of the Oath that stood between any Catholic and a government position.
Parsons, Maitland, Milner possibly did more to propagandize and disseminate the Foxe-derived texts of seventeenth-century radicals and eighteenth-century sectarians than did the books themselves. English Catholics legitimately aspired to alert their countrymen to the on-going injustice, the inequity of treatment suffered by Catholics in England.
Being caught in a muddy roil of exaggerated virulence and sexually-charged reaction, however, dissipated the plaintiff's legal and political justification, while the legend of their moral culpability escalated. Repeated localized explosions of interest in The Book of Martyrs had at root something mysterious and dark — perhaps occasioned by state-sanctioned violence — tasting of a tang of blood and the flavour of shattered taboo. The publication of J. Mozley's biography of Foxe in reflected a change in perspective that reevaluated Foxe's work and "initiated a rehabilitation of Foxe as a historian which has continued to this day.
John Foxe was the "greatest [English] historian of his age," Collinson concluded, "and the greatest revisionist ever". Anglicans consider Foxe's book a witness to the sufferings of faithful Protestants at the hands of anti-Protestant Catholic authorities and their endurance unto death, seen as a component of English identity. Foxe emphasizes hearing or reading the Holy Scripture in the native language without mediation through a priesthood.
Catholics consider Foxe a significant source of English anti-Catholicism , charging among other objections to the work, that the treatment of martyrdoms under Mary ignores the contemporary mingling of political and religious motives — for instance, ignoring the possibility that some victims may have intrigued to remove Mary from the throne.
Following a Convocation order, Foxe's Acts and Monuments was chained beside the Great Bible in cathedrals, select churches, and even several bishops' and guild halls. Selected readings from the text were proclaimed from the pulpit as was and as if it were Scripture. It was read and cited by both ecclesiastical and common folk, disputed by prominent Catholics , and defended by prominent Anglicans.
Acts and Monuments sailed with England's gentleman pirates, encouraged the soldiers in Oliver Cromwell 's army, and decorated the halls at Oxford and Cambridge. Acts and Monuments is credited as among the most influential of English texts. Gordon Rupp called it "an event". He counted it as a "normative document", and as one of the Six Makers of English Religion. At least two of Rupp's Makers continued and elaborated Foxe's views. Christopher Hill , with others, has noted that John Bunyan cherished his Book of Martyrs among the few books that he kept with him while imprisoned.
William Haller observed that John Milton 's Of Reformation in England , and other tracts, took "not only the substance of the account… but also the point of view straight out of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments. Haller means by this, "the view of history advanced by propaganda in support of the national settlement in church and state under Elizabeth , kept going by the increasing reaction against the politics of her successors, and revived with great effect by the puritan opposition to Anglican prelacy in the Long Parliament.
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After Foxe's death, the Acts and Monuments continued to be published and appreciatively read. John Burrow refers to it as, after the Bible, "the greatest single influence on English Protestant thinking of the late Tudor and early Stuart period. The original Acts and Monuments was printed in This text, its dozens of textual alterations Foxe's Book of Martyrs in many forms , and their scholarly interpretations, helped to frame English consciousness national, religious and historical , for over four hundred years. Evoking images of the sixteenth-century martyred English, of Elizabeth enthroned, the Enemy overthrown, and danger averted, Foxe's text and its images served as a popular and academic code.
It alerted English folk to the threat in harbouring citizens who bore allegiance to foreign powers, and it laid an anchor for their xenophobia. Acts and Monuments is academically linked with notions of English nationhood, liberty, tolerance, election, apocalypse, and Puritanism.
The text helped to situate the English monarchy in a tradition of English Protestantism, particularly Whiggism ; and it influenced the seventeenth-century radical tradition by providing materials for local martyrologies, ballads, and broadsheets. Warren Wooden presented John Foxe's key significance as a transitional figure in English historiography in By offering a full-scale historical investigation, "Foxe helped to shape the controversy along historical and prophetic lines, rather than epistemological or linguistic ones.
Acts and Monuments acted as something of a Bible for English folk commonly asserted and also for academics rarely acknowledged , influencing their histories, historical sensibility and consciousness to an unprecedented degree. University-trained researchers professionalized the original author's findings, his facts checked and challenged, being more often proved than not in seventeenth-eighteenth century inquiries, and their findings were verified through the next two centuries.
Foxe's data and vision sensibly provided a foundation for informed academic conclusions. John Strype was among the early beneficiaries, and he praised John Foxe for preserving the documents on which his own ecclesiastical history depended. Acts and Monuments substantially defined, among many other histories from John Strype onward, Arthur G. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text.
Both intact and Working well!! Queen Elizabeth to Like the hypothetical barrister By William Eusebius Andrews. To which is added an account of the Inquisition. Revised and Improved by the Reverend John Malham. Re-edited by the Reverend T. Embellished with Superb Engravings. Enshrined in these pages is an original leaf from the very first edition. Often controversial and always compelling, t Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Foxe's Book of Martyrs, prepared by W. Dictionary of Saints, by John J.
The whole forming at once a general Christian martyrology, and a complete history of persecutions" By the Rev. By Paul Wright, D.