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The Two Issues of More's Book against Luther

from PRODUCTION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2014

A.I. Doyle
Affiliation:
Durham University Library
Carol M. Meale
Affiliation:
Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol
Derek Pearsall
Affiliation:
Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and Honorary Research Professor at the University of York
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Summary

My title employs two different usages of the word ‘issue’, the first the bibliographical, the second ecclesiological. The former is when a text is printed and distributed to readers by sale or gift, and is then or later also distributed in largely identical printed form yet with some alterations or additions and with different names of publishers, printers, places or dates. Ecclesiological issues are questions about the nature and organization of a church and its membership, historically and actually.

It is well known that Henry VIII obtained the title ‘Fidei Defensor’ from Pope Leo X after the publication in 1521 of the king's Assertio septem sacramentorum in reply to Martin Luther's De Babylonica Captivitate, published in 1520. Henry's work was printed at London by Richard Pynson. It is uncertain how much Thomas More contributed to it, but he later admitted only to having ‘set the matters in order’ and advised the king to moderate his professions about the pope. Luther replied in his Contra Henricum Regem in 1522, when he alleged that the king's book was by another hand and so did not scruple to use extreme invective and ridicule against it, for which three years later he expressed regret, blaming it on Wolsey, then the king's chief minister. However, at least two years after the Assertio septem sacramentorum had appeared there came from Pynson's press, in the same format and typography as the king's book, a response to Luther, ostensibly by an Englishman in Italy, Guilielmus Rosseus.

Type
Chapter
Information
Makers and Users of Medieval Books
Essays in Honour of A.S.G. Edwards
, pp. 105 - 120
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2014

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