Resurrection and eschatology in the Reformation formularies of the Church of England, 1536-1571
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 16:26 authored by Timothy Raoul Christopher Patrick
This thesis seeks to fill a gap in current understandings of the English Reformation by the examining the official documents of the Church of England for their explicit and implicit teaching on questions of resurrection and eschatology. Prior to this work, some instances of the dilution of eschatology in in the official documents of the English Magisterial Reformers had been identified. Also, in line with the current trend in English Reformation historiography, there has been a number of works investigating eschatological beliefs at local and social levels. But nowhere has there been any attempt to log systematically the occurrences of, or changes in, eschatology in the Church's official formularies. The major conclusion of this research is that eschatology was progressively thinned out and made more ambiguous as these publications evolved during the Tudor period. In addition to drawing focused attention to these phenomena for the first time, this study also places the changes observed in the theological and political contexts of the period and proposes some explanations for them. The thesis divides the documents into two sub-periods - the pre- and post-Marian - in recognition that the contexts and priorities of each were quite different. It also examines the Church's formularies divided into three categories : those intended for the clergy and hierarchy such as the Articles of Religion, those prepared for public worship such as the Prayer Books, Bibles and Homilies, and those directed towards private discipleship such as the Catechisms and Primers. While some families of documents such as the Prayer Books have been well-studied, others, including the official Homilies, Catechisms and Primers, are far less well-known. Additionally, there is a great deal even within some of the better-known documents that has not been previously given much scholarly attention. For example, the prefatory material in some of the early English Bibles has been relatively untouched. A secondary accomplishment of this thesis, therefore, is that it pushes forward the general study of the English formularies and, guided by the primary research question, makes many fresh observations upon them.