The Letters of the Martyrs - Remembering and reclaiming the apostolic form

Book chapter


Harris, Johanna. (2020). The Letters of the Martyrs - Remembering and reclaiming the apostolic form. In Memory and the English Reformation pp. 286-302 Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108900157.020
AuthorsHarris, Johanna
Abstract

The English Protestant martyrs’ letters, collected and memorialised in Foxe’s Acts and monuments (1563, with more letters added to each subsequent edition in 1570, 1576 and 1583) and in Coverdale and Bull’s Certain most godly, fruitful, and comfortable letters of such true saintes and holy martyrs of God (1564) were a crucial means by which the Tudor Reformation came to be remembered. This chapter argues that these monuments celebrated Protestant apostolic epistolary style in response to the Marian bishop John Christopherson’s direct attack on the presumptuous deployment of the form by the martyr letter writers, helping to shape a polemical context of epistolary memorialisation.This chapter uses the letters of Bishop John Hooper and Lawrence Saunders to examine the role of the literary biblical form of the apostolic letter (letters modelled in the New Testament by the apostles) in memorialising the Protestant Reformation in England and propagating its legacy. It also aims to demonstrate how the deployment of the apostolic model resisted the idea that the martyrology was simply historical commemoration. Radical and nonconformist Protestants across the seventeenth century continually appropriated these apostolic letters, asserting a distinctly Reformed epistolary tradition and inheritance and a distinctly Reformed interpretation of ongoing apostolic succession.

KeywordsActs and Monuments; Letters of the Martyrs; John Foxe; John Christopherson; John Hooper; Lawrence Saunders; epistolary style; apostolic style; apostolic letters
Page range286-302
Year01 Jan 2020
Book titleMemory and the English Reformation
PublisherCambridge University Press
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
ISBN978-1-10-890015-7
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108900157.020
Web address (URL)https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/memory-and-the-english-reformation/letters-of-the-martyrs/59210144AEA578126DF0BF88F0FD1783
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
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All rights reserved
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online30 Oct 2020
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Deposited19 Jan 2024
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