Monday, October 12, 2015

12 October 1524 A.D. LONDON: Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall calls-in booksellers with warnings & book-reviews (shows early reactions of invading Lutheranized ideas)

12 October 1524 A.D. LONDON: Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall calls-in booksellers with warnings & book-reviews (shows early reactions of invading Lutheranized ideas)
A few musings from Prof. Clebsch’s volume.

Clebsch, William. England’s Earliest Protestants: 1520-1535.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964. It is available at:
By 12 October 1524, Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall, London, called in several booksellers to his palace.  He warned them about imported books. 
Further, he commanded them to direct any imported books to Wolsey (Cardinal and Papal legate), Warham (CANTUAR), Fisher (Rochester) and himself (London). 
These four reactionary Anglo-Romanists would be the book-reviewers.
Fisher appears to have been the chief and earliest literary defender of the Church of England.  He had royal patronage from earlier years (we’ve covered this elsewhere).  He was a preacher, teacher, scholar, proctor and later chancellor of Oxford before becoming the Bishop of Rochester. (Rochester is about 30 miles SE of London about 0400 as the crow flies.) 
Thomas More enters the fray in his diatribes against William Tyndale by 1528.
But Henry VIII and Fisher had already been at work. 
Fisher places Luther amongst other “deviational divines” akin to Arius and Wycliffe (15-16), tackling sola scriptura, sole fides, justification, faith, and works.  Luther bore the “marks of all heretics and servants of anti-Christ” (16). According to Prof. Clebsch, Fisher is the only English divine pro-actively “producing scholarly refutations of Luther during the critical years of 1520-1529” (18). 
Fisher’s works:
·         Treatise concernynge...the seven penytencyall Psalms" (London, 1508);

·         Sermon...agayn ye pernicyous doctrin of Martin Luther (London, 1521);

·         Assertionis Lutheranae confutatio (1523)
  • Defensio Henrici VIII" (Cologne, 1525);
  • Sacri sacerdottii defensio contra Lutheranum and Defensio Regie assertionis contra Babylonicam captivitatem (1525)
  • Vernacular Sermon (1526)—preached at another book burning arranged by Cardinal Wolsey
  • De Veritate Corporis et Sanguinis Christi in Eucharistia, adversus Johannem Oecolampadium (Cologne, 1527)—an attack on Oecolampadius in Basel;
  • De Causa Matrimonii...Henrici VIII cum Catharina Aragonensi (Alcalá de Henares, 1530);
  • The Wayes to Perfect Religion (London, 1535);
  • A Spirituall Consolation hys sister Elizabeth (London, 1735).
Fisher, John. "The English Works of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (1469–1535): Sermons and other Writings, 1520–1535," edited by Cecilia A. Hatt, Oxford University Press, 2002.  It’s a bit pricey, but we believe it will give insights.  Mr. Fisher was an international scholar.  He was vigorously combatting Luther and Oecolampadius in the 1520s.  Where was Cranmer? Available at:  Another edition that Ms. Hatt’s is available online:  Also, available online, an 1877 edition of Fisher’s works, at:
Prof. Clebsch does not mention it, but the Latin publications were all but an advertisement in behalf of Luther and stimulated conversations and inquiries.  By 1528, as Prof. MacCulloch has noted, the Cambridge don, Thomas Cranmer was digesting Bishop Fisher’s writings (lamenting the “over-the-top” rhetoric of Fisher and being being angry at Luther too).  Cranmer remains shadowed to this scribe in this period, although we know “Little Germany” or “White Horse Inn’ was operational.

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