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ABAC Member Highlights - David Mason Books


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FOXE, John. Acts and Monuments of Matters Most Special and Memorable Happening in the Church: With An Universal History Of the same. Wherein is set forth at Large, the whole Race and Course of the Church, from teh Primitive Age to the Later Times of Ours, with the Bloody Times, Horrible Troubles, and Great Performances against the true Martyrs of Christ, Sought and Wrought as well by Heathen Emperors, as now lately practiced by Romish Prelates, especially in this Realm of England and Scotland. Now again, as it was Recognized, Perused, and Recommended to the Studious Reader by the Author... Whereunto are annexed certain Additions of like Persecutions which have happened in these Later Times. To which also is added the Life of the Author both in Latine and English.
First published in English in 1563, The Book of Martyrs is an account of Christian martyrs from the first century through the early sixteenth century, emphasizing the sufferings of English Protestants from the fourteenth century through the reign of Mary I. The book was lavishly produced and illustrated and was the largest publication project undertaken in Britain up to this time. On publication the book garnered much attention and was immediately attacked by prominent Catholics. Responding both the critics and the flood of new information brought to light by the first edition, Foxe published a second edition in 1570 which contained additional material but also removed some “offensive passages.” The fourth edition published in 1583 was described as “the most physically imposing, complicated and technically demanding English book of its era.” (King Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and Early Modern Print Culture). Several editions followed until the publication in 1684 of this the “Ninth and best edition” which was revised and augmented. Foxe based his accounts of martyrs before the early modern period on previous writers, including Eusebius, Bede and Matthew Paris and his accounts of these were no more accurate than his sources. His great contribution was the compilation of the English martyrs from the period of the Lollards through the persecution of Mary I. For this period Foxe drew on a wealth of primary sources including reports of trials, episcopal registers, eyewitness testimony and other writings of the period. Second only to the Bible, John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, known as the Book of Martyrs, was the most influential book published in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The most complex and best illustrated English book of its time, it recounted in detail the experiences of hundreds of people who were burnt alive and tortured for their religious beliefs. (King)

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