English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation, 1585-1954
For almost 400 years, Roman Catholics have been writing about the English Reformation, but their contributions have been largely ignored by the scholarly world and the reading public. Thus the myths of corrupt monasteries, a “Bloody” Mary, and a “Good” Queen Bess have established themselves in the popular mind. John Vidmar re-examines this literature systematically from the time of the Reformation itself, to the early 1950s, when Philip Hughes produced his monumental Reformation in England. The author introduces all the major historians (and many lesser lights) who have tackled this issue, including: Nicholas Sanders, Charles Dodd, John Lingard, Lord Acton, Aidan Gasquet, and Hilaire Belloc. … English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation, 1585–1954 supplies information long missing from the Reformation Debate. In exploring the divergent opinions of Catholic historians, John Vidmar offers a critique of the body of Catholic writing and discovers that, quite simply, there is no Catholic “version” of the English Reformation. By evaluating Catholic historical writing as a whole, he reaches conclusions which have not been hitherto possible by treating individual historians. Patterns and directions of Catholic thought over four centuries are illuminated, and set a basis for a new “revisionism” on the Reformation in England.
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