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The Gospel and Henry VIII
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  • 4 tables
  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 274.2/06
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: BR377 .R97 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Reformation--England
    • Protestantism--England--History--16th century
    • Henry--VIII,--King of England,--1491-1547--Relations with Protestants
    • Great Britain--History--Henry VIII, 19-1547

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521823432 | ISBN-10: 0521823439)

DOI: 10.2277/0521823439

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 25 November 2015)


During the last decade of Henry VIII's life, his Protestant subjects struggled to reconcile two loyalties: to their Gospel and to their king. This book tells the story of that struggle and describes how a radicalised English Protestantism emerged from it. Focusing on the critical but neglected period 1539–47, Dr Ryrie argues that these years were not the 'conservative reaction' of conventional historiography, but a time of political fluidity and ambiguity. Most evangelicals continued to hope that the king would favour their cause, and remained doctrinally moderate and politically conformist. The author examines this moderate reformism in a range of settings - in the book trade, in the universities, at court and in underground congregations. He also describes its gradual eclipse, as shifting royal policy and the dynamics of the evangelical movement itself pushed reformers towards the more radical, confrontational Protestantism which was to shape the English identity for centuries.

• The book focuses on the final years of Henry VIII's reign, a critical and neglected period of the early Reformation • It offers an interesting analysis of the origins of England's Protestant culture • The book places early Reformation theology in its historical, social and political setting


List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; Notes on the text; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. The Regime and the Reformers: 1. A counter-reformation?; 2. Fearing God and honouring the king; Part II. The Faces of Reform: 3. The exiles; 4. Pulpit and printshop; 5. The universities; 6. The court; 7. The evangelical underground; Conclusion; Appendixes; Bibliography; Index.


'Dr Ryrie has written a book which will be an extremely valuable addition to any Tudor historian's book shelf … Scholarly this tome is, but it has that added quality that it is a jolly good read.' Open History

'This is a scholarly and stylish treatment of its subject … Ryrie addresses complex issues of theology and identity with a lightness of touch.' Church Times

'… there is no doubt that he has presented a fresh perspective on a surprisingly little-known period in reformation history which will have to be taken into account by everyone working in the field or teaching the subject at undergraduate level.' Churchman

'The contemporary significance of this fine work deserves to be noted.' Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

'… Ryrie has filled an important gap in recent English Reformation historiography. … he marshals his evidence with tremendous skill and offers resourceful and quite sensible arguments.' Sixteenth Century Journal

'Alec Ryrie has produced a fascinating work which will undoubtedly soon become required reading for anyone interested in the early history of the English Reformation. The Gospel and Henry VIII is an excellent work that sheds new light on a vital but neglected area of Tudor religious history.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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