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John Knox’s International Network

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2016

Alec Ryrie
Durham University
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In the early twentieth century, the city of Geneva added to its existing tourist attractions with one of the most peculiar items of civic commemoration in Europe. The Reformation Wall is a queasy monument to Geneva’s glorious past, in which the tensions and prejudices of a very particular view of the sixteenth century are frozen into stone. As one moves towards the centre of the monument, one draws closer to the Genevan fount of Reformed Christian truth. Luther and Zwingli are commemorated, tersely, at the wall’s outermost extremes. Further in, a series of friezes celebrate the deeds of Reformed Protestants in France, the Netherlands, Scotland and England. The monument’s centre, however, is the set of four larger-than-life statues, fixing the viewer with their stern gazes. Three of the figures are obvious. John Calvin himself, of course, stands to the fore. The wall is at heart a memorial to him, to the man who wished to be buried in an unmarked grave, and it was begun on the quatercentenary of his birth. He is joined by Guillaume Farel, the Frenchman who first established the Reformed Church in Geneva and persuaded Calvin to join him in his ministry there; and by Theodore de Béze, Calvin’s successor, biographer and systematizer.

Research Article
Copyright © Ecclesiastical History Society 1994

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1 Knox, John, The Works of John Knox, ed. Laing, David, 6 vols (Edinburgh, 1846–64), 4: 240;Google Scholar Duke, Alastair, Lewis, Gillian and Pettegree, Andrew, eds, Calvinism in Europe 1540–1610 (Manchester, 1992), 33.Google Scholar I am grateful to Dr Naphy for discussions on this point; see his forthcoming study of sexuality, deviance and criminality in early modern Geneva.

2 There are many studies of Knox, most of them dated. Until Jane Dawson’s forthcoming biography appears, Jasper Ridley, John Knox (Oxford, 1968) remains a sound treatment. The essays in Roger Mason, ed., John Knox and the British Refor mations (Aldershot, 1999) offer a stimulating overview. See also Reid, W. Stanford, Trumpeter of God: A Biography of John Knox (New York, 1974);Google Scholar Mackie, J. D., Jhon Knox (London, 1951);Google Scholar Percy, Eustace, John Knox (London, 1937).Google Scholar

3 Ryrie, Alec, The Origins of the Scottish Reformation (Manchester, 2006), ch. 3.Google Scholar

4 The account is in Knox, Works, i: 185–9.

5 Ryrie, , Origins, 1278.Google Scholar

6 Mac Culloch, Diarmaid, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (New Haven, CT, and London, 1996), 5259.Google Scholar

7 The story of the ‘troubles begun at Frankfurt’ has been retold many times, including by Knox’s biographers. The principal source for the episode remains the anonymous and partisan account published twenty years after the event, A brieffdiscours off the troubles begonne at Franckford in Germany anno Domini 1554 (Heidelberg, 1575). See also Cameron, Euan, ‘Frankfurt and Geneva: The European Context of John Knox’s Reformation’, in Mason, ed., John Knox, 5173.Google Scholar

8 This visit is narrated in Knox, Works, i: 245–54 see also the discussion of it in Ryrie, Alec, ‘Congregations, Conventicles and the Nature of Early Protestantism in Scodane!’, P&P, no. 191 (2006), 45–76 at 602.Google Scholar

9 The relevant letters are in Knox, Works 4: 131–40, 223–36.

10 Ibid. 138.

11 See especially Deut. 13; cf. Exod. 22: 20, Deut. 17: 2–7

12 Knox, , Works, 4: 461538.Google Scholar

13 A point made effectively by Gray, John R., ‘The Political Theory of John Knox’, ChH 8 (1939), 13247.Google Scholar On Knox as a prophet, see Johnson, Dale, ‘Serving Two Masters: John Knox, Scripture and Prophecy’, in Parish, Helen and Naphy, William G., eds, Religion and Superstition in Early Modem Europe (Manchester, 2002), 13353.Google Scholar

14 Dawson, Jane, ‘The two John Knoxes: England, Scotland and the 1558 Tracts’, JEH 42 (1991), 12340.Google Scholar

15 Dolff, Scott, ‘The two John Knoxes and the Justification of Non-Revolution: A Response to Dawson’s Argument from Covenant’, JEH 55 (2004), 58–74 esp. 723.Google Scholar

16 Ryrie, , Origins, 14857.Google Scholar

17 Gray, ‘Political Theory of John Knox’.

18 Knox, , Works, 4: 52830.Google Scholar

19 Ibid. 2: 388.

20 Ibid. 279.

21 Ibid. 20–1 cf. Knox’s later letter to Elizabeth herself: ibid. 6: 47–51

22 On which, see Ryrie, Origins, ch. 8.

23 Knox, Works, 6: 34–6, 40–4, 56–60, 67–70.

24 Ibid. 90, 92.

25 Ibid. 2: 465–73

26 Ibid. 6: 100–1, 103–4; Usher, Brett, ‘Backing Protestantism: The London Godly, the Exchequer and the Foxe Circle’, in Loades, David, ed., John Foxe: An Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), 10534.Google Scholar

27 Knox, Works, 6: 104.

28 Ibid. 105.

29 Kew, TNA, SP 52/5, fol. 71T (Joseph Bain et al., eds, Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary, Queen of Scots, 1547–1603, 13 vols (Edinburgh, 1898–1969), i, no. 902). On the Confession, see Ian, W. Hazlitt, P., ‘The Scots Confession 1560: Context, Complexion and Critique’, ARG 78 (1987), 287320.Google Scholar

30 Cameron, James K., ed., The First Book of Discipline (Edinburgh, 1972), 314.Google Scholar

31 Knox, Works, 2: 276.

32 On this, see Lee, Maurice Jr, ‘John Knox and his History’, ScHR 45 (1966), 7988.Google Scholar

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