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The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain$
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Polly Ha and Patrick Collinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264683

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264683.001.0001

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Unreliable Witnesses

Unreliable Witnesses

(p.23) 2 Unreliable Witnesses
The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain

Elisabeth Leedham-Green

British Academy

Innovation in print and the dissemination of reformation texts were as central to Protestant reform as biblical translation and the circulation of erudite Protestant scholarship in manuscript. The history of the book is an obvious starting point for understanding reformation reception and overlaps with reception studies by its concern with readership and the historical context of printed matter. This chapter explores the historical contingency of the sources available for quantifying the ownership of continental reformed texts, with particular emphasis on the universities in Britain. Probate inventories, anecdotal evidence, booksellers’ lists, and surviving books present different and often conflicting stories. The discrepancy between Cambridge and Oxford inventories, for instance, may have had more to do with the university appraisers than religious conservatism in Oxford.

Keywords:   continental reformed texts, probate inventories, Cambridge, Oxford, religious conservatism, Protestant reform

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