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Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0300152166 ISBN-10: 0300152167 Edition: First Edition first Printing

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition first Printing edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300152167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300152166
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fires of Faith is a dazzling exercise in historical reappraisal, after which the reign of Mary Tudor will never look quite the same again."—Peter Marshall, Times Literary Supplement
(Peter Marshall Times Literary Supplement)

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine
(Choice 2010-01-01)

"This is an erudite, revisionist perspective on a topic many apparently thought was burned into historical truth. . . . Eamon Duffy brings insight, passion, and scholarly persistence. . . . Scholars and otherwise curious readers will find Fires of Faith's reassessment of the Catholic spirit of Marian England well worth ongoing consideration."—Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Anglican and Episcopal History
(Fredrica Harris Thompsett Anglican and Episcopal History)

"This study is learned and eloquent, and does much to establish the credentials of a church that has suffered from centuries of adverse publicity. Even more, however, it demonstrates the perils of ideological conflict. The Protestants won by historical accident, but it is pure gain to see the other side of the story so ably presented."—David Loades, Journal of British Studies
(David Loades Journal of British Studies)

"Fires of Faith is a daring and masterful reinterpretation of a key moment in English history and also in the history of Catholicism. Although many will surely challenge its assertions, this book’s significance is beyond dispute, precisely because it encourages disputation. Duffy questions the dominant narrative created by Protestants long ago and, in the process,opens doors that only the timid and the foolhardy will dare to ignore."—Carlos M. N. Eire, The Catholic Historical Review
(Carlos M. N. Eire The Catholic Historical Review)

"Duffy has once again written a book that opens new questions and will be indispensable for future considerations of Mary's reign."—Scott McGinnis, Journal of Religion
(Scott McGinnis Journal of Religion)

About the Author

Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of many prize-winning books, including The Stripping of the Altars, Saints and Sinners, The Voices of Morebath, and Marking the Hours, all published by Yale University Press.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie A. Mann on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The brief reign of Mary I has hitherto been regarded as an anomaly in the steady progress of England in the Whig mythology of British history. It's considered a throwback to the Middle Ages, a dark time of superstition and tyranny, illuminated only by the fires of Smithfield and Oxford. Eamon Duffy sets out to revise this view, dealing with at least five major misconceptions about Catholic England under Mary I:

1). Papal Legate and Archbishop of Canterbury Reginald Pole was not that involved with the restoration of Catholicism, he did not agree with the policy of burnings, and did not encourage preaching enough.

Often this is held because Pole refused the assistance of the Jesuits in England. As Duffy notes, Pole had a different program of renewal planned from the Jesuit program. John Foxe actually minimized Pole's culpability in the heresy trials, but Pole was ultimately in charge of them. As Legate and Archbishop, Duffy demonstrates, Pole certainly encouraged preaching, preaching himself or preparing sermons for publication.

2). Pole and Mary ignored opportunities for propaganda against protestants, especially missing out on preaching or controlling the situation at the burning of heretics.

Duffy answers this charge by emphasizing how the new regime took advantage of Northumberland's speech on the scaffold before his execution. The leader of the plot to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne admitted his errors in continuing the protestant reformation under Edward VI and repented, having reverted to Catholicism. Duffy also notes that Pole was very much concerned with guiding popular opinion at the burnings, with preachers there to admonish both the heretics and any in the crowd who might share their errors.

3).
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By T. Patrick Killough VINE VOICE on December 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am 74 years old and a cradle Roman Catholic. Growing up in passionately Protestant Shreveport, I wept when I read in high school my first book about Queen Mary Tudor, her husband King Philip II of Spain and their effort to win England, Ireland and Wales back to fealty to the Pope. I thought that they should have won for the Greater Glory of God. I am not a professional historian (my working career was in American diplomacy). But I think I am part of precisely the non-professional part of Eamon Duffy's readership he meant to pitch his book toward.

As the decades have rolled along I have read much in the religious history of England, Ireland and Scotland but did not return to Queen Mary's reign (1553 - 1558) until I read a review of Eamon Duffy's FIRES OF FAITH: CATHOLIC ENGLAND UNDER MARY TUDOR. I then bought the book, learned a few new facts, vastly enjoyed the book's 30 plates and six maps. At first glance, it seemed to have all the trappings of a good, solid, readable, reasonably popular history book useful to educated publics who are not specialized in Tudor times or the English Reformation. It had a "Select" Bibliography -- often a sign that the author is writing for non-specialists. The notes were ample but not overwhelming.

So I settled back for a good read. By book's end, however, I was greatly disappointed in FIRES OF FAITH: CATHOLIC ENGLAND UNDER MARY TUDOR. It was nothing like as readable as Duffy's earlier THE STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS (under Mary's father King Henry VIII). It was largely a polemic against other historians specialized in the history of the Reformation in England. To his credit, Cambridge University Professor Eamon Duffy was frank about his limited objectives.
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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful By D. Tillman on October 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eamon Duffy's "Fires of Faith: Catholic England Under Mary Tudor" is a very welcome addition to the ongoing reassessment of the English Reformation that he begain with his "The Stripping of the Altars". The subject is important because it sets the stage for any study of Christianity in the English speaking world. For Christians intersted in a real unity it is important to put to rest the polemics and myths embraced by competing communities and explore the possibility that the Reformation and Counter-Reformation deformed a common ancestor to both the Catholic and Protestant communities.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary I can be considered England's first undisputed female sovereign. In her five years as Queen (1553-1558), Mary repealed Edward VI's religious laws, re-established Catholicism, and burned 283 (or 284) Protestant martyrs, earning herself the name `Bloody Mary'. Her reign is often seem simply as a cruel and ultimately futile attempt to return England to Catholicism (for which an heir was required) or, at least, to arrest England's progress towards becoming a Protestant nation (which was inevitable once her half-sister Elizabeth was definitely her only heir). But is this a fair assessment of Mary I's reign?

In this book, Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge, argues that the management of the return to Catholicism was not ineptly handled. Instead, Professor Duffy puts forward a case that the process (largely driven by Reginald Pole, Cardinal and the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury) was well planned, and the arrangements put in place were both sensible and practical. Unfortunately, for Mary I's place in history, five years was not sufficient time to bed down these reforms and the pall cast by the burnings overshadows the fact that the Protestantism installed during Edward VI's reign was opportunistic, confused and destructive. The widely held view of Mary is also a consequence of the ultimate victory of Protestantism in England: history is written by the victors.

But looking beyond the fact of the Reformation to the possible causes of it (did the Roman Catholic Church need reforming, or did Henry VIII break with Rome simply to marry Anne Boleyn?) introduces some different possibilities for looking at Mary I's reign.
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