Just found that it appears the Great Bible was inspired and commissioned by Anne Boleyn

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Botolph, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I am doing a bit of historical reading of the Tudor Period at the moment, and something I found interesting was the realisation that the commissioning of the Great Bible and the impetus for its distribution was most likely at the encouragement and behest of Anne Boleyn.

    Somehow I had always allowed Henry VIII all the credit, however it seems on deeper reading that there was good cause. Whilst Anne Boleyn is often thought of as a Lutheran, that is almost certainly not the case, though she was interested and impressed by much of the work of the reformers.

    Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and others believed that the Bible clearly made a case for the authority of the King - the anointed sovereign - rather than the Pope who was in part seen as a political vassal of the European Temporal Lords, and to that extent a foreign power. This of course had a great deal to do with the King's Great Matter.

    In his heart Henry VIII, seems to have been essentially a Catholic King, who had a problematic Pope. The Tudor obsession with succession gave him some of a blinkered vision. England could not afford another War of the Roses, and Henry saw that as his duty. He did come to the view that the Pope should be constrained by Scripture. I think it is clear that Anne Boleyn was in part responsible for helping him come to that conclusion, both by virtue of her own opinions, and by virtue of the things and people she encouraged him to read and come in contact with. Cranmer, undoubtedly being one of them.
     
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    yes, Henry was a Roman Catholic through and through (that is to say, an un-reformed Catholic).... It was Anne Boleyn who was behind a lot of the reforms, and after she was unjustly executed by the king, it was Catherine Parr
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Parr
     
  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, I seem to remember reading somewhere old Hery forbade Protestant reformers from coming to England
     
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Henry VIII certainly did for the most part adhere to some catholic principles. The purposes of Henry VIII's legislation was to affirm what he saw as the Kings sacramental role as the anointed (by God) ruler of the Kingdom. Wolsey exerted great influence for the early part of Henry's reign, and Wolsey was a man torn between his loyalty to the Pope and his loyalty to the King. I do not think that Henry VIII say that he was changing anything, save for the governance of the Church. Walsey banned a goodly number of publications coming from the new religion of the continent. Anne Boleyn in her time is Austria, and then in the French Court had encountered much of this and did believe that there was a level of corruption in the Church/Rome.

    At one stage I think there was a visit from some lights of the continental reformation, and Henry was displeased and I think that he recalled parliament and that was around the passing of the six articles. Henry was no fan of much of the reformation, however I thinks views in his life depended in part on who he was listening to at the time, Wolsey, Aragan, Comwell, Boleyn, Cranmer.

    He was keen (in the Boleyn period) to encourage the Bible in English, but some years later not so keen as he felt that spiritual topics had become the talk of ignorant persons in taverns. Like Anglicanism, it is difficult to put Henry VIII in a box.
     
  5. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    This does not surpise me. Catherine Parr, Henry’s last wife, was herself a author who wrote and published her own spiritual books. She encourages Elizabeth, the future queen, to become learned and Elizabeth mastered and memorized The New Testament in Greek.

    The Tudor women were instrumental in the advancement of The English Reformation. Elizabeth herself establishing the middle road of Anglicanism as an alternative to Romanism and (Radical) Reformism. She truly united her Protestant and Catholic subjects by not giving into her Puritan advisors and privy counselors.

    Henry certainly made the major step of schism from the Romanite Church, but it was Anne Bolelyn, Catherine Parr and Elizabeth who actually helpes shape the new frontier of Reformation in England. Of course we cannof forget William Tyndale and the power his translation of the New Testament in English had. It is theilling that most english translations of the Bible still use his text for the New Testament.
     
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  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Henry changed wives, but he was also changed by his wives. And a lot of people forget that Henry was no intellectual slouch either.
     
  7. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    I wish a book would examine He ry’s piety more extensively. He usually gets depicted as totalitarian womanizer. At leasy PBS’ Wolf Hall showed his concern about the Scripture against marrying your brother’s wife and him wanting Cardinal Wolsey to pray for him.

    I think the Henry who was resuscitated after his accident at the joust was very different than the one before the joust. He was dead long enough for brain damage.
     
  8. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    It's difficult to define exactly where Henry stood with regard to religion. He's often portrayed as a religious conservative. In many ways he was but I don't think it's quite as simplistic as that. As Botolph has pointed out, it depended in part on who he was listening to at the time. He was changeable as new ideas were seized, enthused over and then dropped. He was an erratic and impulsive man.

    The Royal Supremacy was his and his alone and was to be effective in practice rather than an empty title that many of the Bishops hoped it would be. Henry was going to be as much in control of the Church as he was the rest of his Kingdom. Henry wanted to be the sole arbiter of religious belief. Parliament's role was to lay down punishments on those who contravened the instructions given by him as God's direct and only representative as head of his Church in England and its domains. He could be 'ecumenical' with these punishments and on one occasion on the same day in 1540 had a group of Catholics and Evangelicals executed to show that deviance of any kind wouldn't be tolerated.

    The distinction between lay and clerical didn't mean much to Henry. His appointment of Cromwell as Vicegerent in Spirituals shows this. Cromwell as a layman was superior even to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry believed that he himself had the authority to ordain or to carry out other spiritual functions. The Bishops agreed to this in theory so he was content not to put these more extreme claims into practice.

    Henry was genuinely interested in theology and came to regard himself as somewhat of an expert. He held religious views which tended to be conservative and he seemed to revert to these 'gut feelings' when he felt vulnerable or insecure. (Act of Six Articles, 1539.) He refused to accept that the laity should receive Communion in both kinds. He believed that Priests and Religious who had taken vows of chastity should honour it for life. (The inmates from the dissolved monasteries had to maintain their vows of chastity.) He believed in transubstantiation, purgatory and confessing one's sins to a Priest.

    Henry may have looked upon religious policy as a means to an end rather than an end in itself and used the Church in a game of power politics to increase his power at home and to further his designs abroad. The dissolution of the monasteries are an example of this despite the fact that Henry supported much of what they actually stood for. When the first wave of monastic dissolutions occurred he founded two new monastic houses with the express purpose of ensuring prayers were said for him, his wife and the souls of his ancestors. There were moves towards more Protestant leaning beliefs in 1537-8 in an effort to win German Lutheran support although these moves were terminated. During the final years of his life there were plans to dissolve the Chantries with their extensive endowments despite the fact that Henry believed in the theology that underpinned their existence. (The Chantries were dissolved early in the reign of Edward VI.)

    It's possible that Henry may have seen the future of Christianity as lying in a series of independent Churches each ruled over by a Prince who (like himself) would lay down its organisation, belief and practices as he felt instructed to do by God. The one invisible Church of God would take its earthly visible form as a collection of free standing units differing in detail but equally valid.
     
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