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Erasmus and the Politics of Translation in Tudor England

  • Lucy Wooding (a1)

Desiderius Erasmus was a significant figure in early sixteenth-century England, and many of his works were translated into English during the reign of Henry VIII. In the process of translation the original intention of these works was subverted as Erasmus's reputation was appropriated by his translators and their patrons for their own purposes. His works were recast in English form to serve a variety of different agendas, from those of Henrician conservatives to Protestants pushing for more radical religious reform. This article looks at some of these translations, showing how they illustrate the variations in religious attitudes during these volatile years and the competing claims for validation. In particular, Erasmus's pronouncements on the importance of Scripture translation were annexed and deployed in the debate over the English Bible, demonstrating how his views about translation were in themselves translated to reflect the political and religious needs of the English situation.

Corresponding author
* Lincoln College, Oxford, OX1 3DR. E-mail:
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Studies in Church History
  • ISSN: 0424-2084
  • EISSN: 2059-0644
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-church-history
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