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Confessionalisation and Erudition in Early Modern EuropeAn Episode in the History of the Humanities$
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Nicholas Hardy and Dmitri Levitin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266601

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266601.001.0001

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Matthew Parker and the Practice of Church History

Matthew Parker and the Practice of Church History

Chapter:
(p.116) 3 Matthew Parker and the Practice of Church History
Source:
Confessionalisation and Erudition in Early Modern Europe
Author(s):

Madeline McMahon

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266601.003.0003

The Elizabethan archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker is best known for his efforts to collect medieval manuscripts, which had changed hands or been repurposed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and to construct from these sources a new history of the church in England. This essay looks at the complete process by which Parker and his circle collected, used, and printed books for their historical project. It argues that Parker’s work was not as pointedly confessional as it has typically been seen, in part because of the shifting sands of early modern religious discourse and in part because of how Parker engaged with the medieval sources he encountered. He learned from what he read—perhaps especially from late medieval historians. His practices in constructing church history reveal the extent to which he viewed himself in a continuous historiographical tradition, even as he sought to reform an ecclesiastical one.

Keywords:   Matthew Parker, church history, Magdeburg Centuriators, John Bale, book history, medieval manuscripts, history of libraries, English Reformation, history of archives

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