Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: Recommended Resources

Cranmer’s Life

  • Jasper Ridley, Thomas Cranmer (Oxford, 1962). This is a full-scale, modern biography but not altogether satisfactory. It needs to be supplemented by theological studies, such as the following:
  • G.W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr (Church Book Room, 1955) and Thomas Cranmer: Theologian (Oxford, 1956). These books, by the translator of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, highlight the Protestant nature of Cranmer’s theology.
  • Patrick Collinson, Thomas Cranmer, in The English Religious Tradition and the Genius of Anglicanism, (G. Rowell, 1992), pages 79–103. An important essay by the historian of Elizabethan Puritanism.
  • A.F. Polard, Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation (1905; Putnam Archon, 1965). An older but still useful history that emphasizes the political involvements of Cranmer.
  • J.G. Nichols, Narratives of the Days of the Reformation, chiefly from Manuscripts of John Fox the Martyrologist: with two contemporary biographies of Archbishop Cranmer (Camden Society, 1859). Interesting sixteenth-century accounts.

Background and Related Works

  • For a general history of the English Reformation, see A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation, second edition (Pennsylvania State, 1989). In addition, see Peter Brooks,Cranmer in Context, Documents from the English Reformation (Fortress, 1989).
  • For the theological background, see P.E. Hughes, Theology of the English Reformers (Eerdmans, 1965) and D.B. Knox, The Doctrine of Faith (1961).
  • In The Godly Kingdom of Tudor England (1981), edited by John E. Booty, the English Reformation is viewed in terms of the Bible, homilies, articles of religion, catechisms, and the Book of Common Prayer.
  • On the controversial matter of Cranmer’s teachings on the Eucharist, see Peter Brooks, Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist: An Essay in Historical Development (New York and London, 1965), a comprehensive survey with a closely argued point of view. Compare with C.W. Dugmore, The Mass and the English Reformers (London, 1958) and C.C. Richardson, Zwingli and Cranmer on the Eucharist (1949).

Cranmer’s Writings

  • Writings and Disputations . . . relative to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, ed. John E. Cox, Parker Society, xv (Cambridge, 1844).
  • Miscellaneous Writings and Letters, ed. John E. Cox, Parker Society, xvi (Cambridge, 1846), contains letters and other documents.
  • The Two Liturgies, A.D. 1549 and A.D. 1552: with other Documents, ed. Joseph Ketley, Parker Society (Cambridge, 1844).
  • In addition, there are selections from Cranmer’s writings, such as Selected Writings, ed. Carl S. Meyer (1961); English Reformers, ed. T.H.L. Parker, Library of Christian Classics, 26 (Westminster, 1966); and The Works of Thomas Cranmer, G. Duffield, ed. (Cambridge, 1965).
By John Booty

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #48 in 1995]

John Booty is a historiographer with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire.
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