Online: “On the Antiquity of the Church in Britain” / “De Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae” (1572)

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by JonahAF, Dec 11, 2021.

  1. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Matthew Parker, “On the Antiquity of the Church in Britain” / “De Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae” (1572)

    Today we bring to you one of the largest projects in the history of Anglican.net: a republication of the vast 1572 history of the Church in Britain, from its founding in the 1-2nd centuries, down to the 1500s, as traced through a succession of its Archbishops of Canterbury. Commissioned by Archbishop Matthew Parker, this is easily the largest scholarly project of his prelacy, occupying a dozen scholars, researchers and archivists, and collating vast numbers of manuscripts and records that otherwise may have perished. The resulting hundreds of folio pages in small-point font, were the pinnacle of the Archbishop’s life-long project: to demonstrate the independent history, antiquity, and identity of the Church of England, as regards any other Churches (such as that of Rome).

    Assembling an array of innumerable Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, medieval chronicles, and archeological remains, the Archbishop and his team led by chaplain John Joscelyn painstakingly documented the history of this church, from its founding under ancient Rome, to its dealings with the Popes, the nuances of it coming under their sway, until finally returning it to its original state in the 1500s. Parker’s team of scholars uncovered countless fascinating artifacts of English history, such as Anglo-Saxon sermons which seemed to argue for spiritual real presence; texts by old English theologians against transubstantiation or in favor of priestly marriage; medieval chroniclers (Matthew Paris and others) who expressed great alarm about the Papacy’s rise and alteration of prior Christian teachings. All these texts Parker’s team republished as separate treatises over the course of the 1560s, 1570s, and 1580s, oftentimes in native Anglo-Saxon font! See for instance Testimonie of Antiquitie, shewing the auncient faith in the Church of England touching the sacrament of the body and bloude of the Lord here publikely preached, and also receaued in the Saxons tyme, aboue 600 years agoe, published in 1567. Online here: http://www.parkertestimonie.com/.

    Aside: If you would like to see more classical Anglican works be brought online, support us today!
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    The text we present to you today is filled with items of incredible visual interest: over twenty full-page illustrations (created for the 1700s edition). Almost forty fascinatingly intricate heraldic escutcheons for the Archbishops down through the centuries, attached to their lives. Tables of the Sees of Canterbury and of York, with the dioceses under their charge (and their escutcheons!). Other tables of the English kings and the Archbishops of Canterbury who served with them.

    This text has over 220,000 words; and nearly 1 million characters. Only the mightiest computer will be able to load it. We present it here as a fascinating testament and witness to the Church of England and how it saw itself during the 1500s. Perhaps this republication will inspire an enterprising spirit to for the first time translate this work into English. Enjoy!!



    Matthew Parker, “On the Antiquity of the Church in Britain” / “De Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae” (1572)


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    Othniel, anglican74, Botolph and 3 others like this.
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    So exciting! Thank you
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My Latin is not good enough(!), but with Google's help I discerned this:

    We will treat of the Archbishops of Canterbury, who in ancient times were called Canterbury, because they were the primates and metropolitans of the whole Anglican Church, if we will do the best, if we have declared the first origin and institution of the Christian Church in the British Isle from the most ancient testimonies of the Fathers and writers . Having carefully examined and examined this, we shall find that it was not only very ancient, but also that the Gospel was first propagated throughout the world by the Apostles, and not by the Roman See, as the Roman Pontiffs contend; For Gildas, the most ancient writer of British affairs among those who are worthy of faith, reports that the Britons had already received the Christian faith from the beginning of the Gospel. Then Origen, who was in the last centuries after the Apostles, testifies that Britain was united in the Christian religion. And as for this, Tertullian, the most ancient father of the Church, writing among the Jews concerning the Gentiles embraced the Christian faith, remembers the Britons. Whose words are these eloquent words: In whom else did all the nations believe, except in Christ, who has already come? For to whom also other nations, Parthians, Medes, &c. as already the varieties of the Getulians, many territories of the Moors, all the borders of Spain, various nations of Gaul, and places of the Britons inaccessible to the Romans, &c. Unrelated to this age, Athanasius, making mention of those nations which had convened at the council of Sardinia, says: In the great council of Sardinia, our innocence was approved by more than three hundred bishops by his calculations; The Spaniards, Gaul, and United Kingdoms had contributed thither to the council. To this is added the authority of the second council of Arles, in which it is expressly expressed, that a certain restored Bishop of London had been called from the council of Britain, and subscribed to the same decrees. Finally, in the Ecclesiastical History of Nicephorus, there is an Epistle of the same Athanasius to the Emperor Jovinian, in which he writes: Know this, most Christian Augustus, that this faith was preached from the beginning, and that it was the very professed fathers who assembled at Nicaea; which are elsewhere, the churches in Spain, and Britain, and Gaul, and Germany. For of all those things which we have reviewed, the opinion has been ascertained from us, that we have letters from them. From these it is evidently evident to the authorities that not only the Christian faith received in those early times by the Britons, but the Church established, and the bishops and individual ranks of ministers, had been sent hither far before the arrival of Augustine by Gregory.​
     
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  4. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Thank you for that! Indeed automatized translation may soon help make available the texts which have heretofore remained inaccessible.
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I can be entirely confident in this, but I have done some work on the Preface, and I think I have the gist of Matthew Parker here. I share it for those who are interested.

    In broad brush I think his argument might be summed up.
    • History ios a good thing, but lamentably peple do not know enough English (and English Church) History as the focus has been on the Latins and the Greeks.
    • Anglican History goes back to the origins of Christianity, not simply the Augustianian Mission.
    • Canterbury is historically and rightly the premier see in England.
    • Papal Domination has burried our history, and we need to recover the truth.
    PS: If you want to print this, I recomment double sided booklet format from the adobe print driver, and centre stapling should make it manageabkle and readable. For those needing big print, just print it on A4 or your near equavelent.
     

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  6. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Splendid job! And just like that, this work now has more in English, than it has had in 450 years. All that was needed was for the Latin to be published in order to bring attention to it. If we can get more of this in English, then I wholly foresee us adding the English straight into the Latin on the website, so that people will get the English first, before they're hit with the wall of Latin that follows.
     
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