Foxe’s Acts and Monuments: Still Compelling?

“Is the language Foxe used still compelling today?”

Foxe’s Acts and Monuments is an extremely lengthy (500 chapters) work on the history of Christian martyrs. It was written shortly after the death of Queen Mary I of England and was totally critical of the late Catholic queen of England.

According to me, this book is too lengthy and boring for the average person. It is too much book to be spent on the history of martyrs and the constant descriptions and debates can get tiring.

That being said, however, the book’s overall style is not too bad. It is not written in a language that was only for scholars. Instead, it was written for the common person. At this time, the printing press being available, therefore books were now available for the average person, whereas before they were not. However, I can’t believe that so many people were able to get through such a gigantic book, day after day, on the same subject.

Because Foxe did write to the common person, in English, not Latin, I do think that the language is still readable today. What might be repulsive is the fact that you have 500 chapters on the history of Christian martyrs, which is great if you’re specializing in that section of history, but otherwise quite daunting.

The English Reformation

One stage of the Protestant Reformation was the English Reformation, which began with the famous Henry VIII. He was King of England during the fifteen-hundreds, that century of drastic change.

King Henry’s amusing ‘marry-go-round’ began when his wife, Catherine of Aragon, did not give him a male heir. Their only child was Mary Tudor, later to be known as Bloody Mary, Queen of England. Henry, having fallen in love with the beautiful Anne Boleyn and having married her secretly, strongly wanted to have his marriage with Catherine annulled. However, this annulment was strictly against Catholic law and the pope forbade it. Continue reading