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Robert Barnes (1495-1540) was perhaps the most important sixteenth-century English Protestant reformer after William Tyndale. The shifting religious and political views of Henry VIII positioned Barnes at the opposite end of the popular ideology of the day, culminating in his execution in 1540 soon after that of Thomas Cromwell.A Supplication Vnto the Most Gracyous Prince Kynge Henry The. VIIJ., the first edition of which appeared in 1531 during Barnes's German exile, was a controversial lament for the religious climate in England and an earnest argument in favour of reform. In this critical edition, Douglas H. Parker compares all extant versions of the text published in the sixteenth century, focusing on the differences between the 1531 and 1534 editions. Parker argues that the differences between versions can be explained by Barnes's increasing sensitivity to the unstable theological climate under Henry VIII as well as to the author's attempt to curry favour with the English government in 1534. This critical volume includes the entire 1534 edition of A Supplication, a biographical sketch of Barnes, a bibliographical introduction, a glossary of arcane words, and an appendix that features the 1531 edition, giving readers the chance to make their own comparison. This work is a long over-due study of one of the most fascinating and prescient texts to emerge from the Protestant Reformation.
Douglas Parker presents an old-spelling, critical edition of William Roye's English translation of Erasmus' An exhortation to the diligent studye of scripture (or Paraclesis) , and Martin Luther's An exposition in to the seventh chaptre of the pistle to the Corinthians (his commentary on St. Paul's 1 Corinthians 7), first published together in 1529. Roye's translation of Erasmus' Paraclesis was momentous because it underscored the reformers' call for a vernacular Bible, thereby providing them with a voice of authority that conservative forces could not ignore. Roye's translation of Luther was the first full-scale English rendering of a work by the great arch-heretic, and its subject matter (the iniquities of the unmarried clergy) suggested a unity of vision between European and English reformers. Most importantly, these two tracts were published together, ironically enough, thereby suggesting a unity of vision that neither Erasmus nor Luther would have been prepared to countenance. Parker's thorough volume includes: a literary/historical introduction situating the text and explaining its importance for the English reform movement; an essay on the fidelity of Roye's English renderings of the original Latin and German texts; commentary that glosses difficult readings, identifies all biblical and secular references, provides analogues from early English reformation tracts and from some of Erasmus' and Luther's other writings. This is a critical work for scholars of the English reformation movement.
Sixteenth-century English Protestant reformers were hard-pressed to establish a historical pedigree that would provide their ideas with weight and legitimacy. Many of those reformers turned back to early fifteenth-century Lollard texts, recycling and reprinting them to serve the needs, both political and spiritual, of the burgeoning English Protestant reform movement. The anti-clerical and reformist Lollard text, The praier and complaynte of the ploweman vnto Christe, was one of the works used by sixteenth century English Protestants in their struggle for religious reform. This is an old-spelling, critical edition of the version of The praier and complaynte of the ploweman vnto Christe that resurfaced in the 1530s. Demonstrating the continuity of ideas between the Lollards and the Reformists, Douglas Parker situates The praier and complaynte firmly in the tradition of English Reformist borrowing of texts, and argues for William Tyndale as editor of the sixteenth-century version of The praier and complaynte. Parker examines the two extant copies of the manuscript, and comments on the work's structure and reformist content. He presents full historical, literary, and biographical information in his introduction, and a full line-by-line commentary on the text. This careful, meticulous work is a revealing look at the ideology of Protestant religious struggles in England from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century.