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Critical Edition of the Homilies

bookshomThe two Books of Homilies, along with the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal, have been basic documents of the Church of England, and are valuable in showing Anglican doctrine during the Reformation, as well as being of considerable historical importance. Gerald Bray has produced a new critical edition, available now in hardback and e-book editions, and later this year in paperback.

The first book, published in 1547, early in the reign of Edward VI, was partly though not entirely the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and the inspiration appears to have been his. This was intended to raise the standards of preaching by offering model sermons covering particular doctrinal and pastoral themes, either to be read (particularly by unlicensed clergy) or to provide preachers with additional material for their own sermons.

The success of the venture led Bishop Edmund Bonner, who had contributed to Cranmer's book, to produce his own Book of Homilies in 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary. The Second Book of Homilies, published in 1563 (and in a revised form in 1571) appears in turn to have been influenced both by Cranmer's and by Bonner's books.

The present edition brings together all three books, edited and introduced by Revd Dr Gerald Bray, Director of Research at the Latimer Trust.

It can be purchased from James Clarke, the publishers; currently available in Hardback (£85, ISBN: 9780227175446) and e-pub/PDF formats. A paperback edition is due out on 23 February 2017.

"The Homilies are of major significance for understanding Church of England doctrine and discipline at the Reformation. We are in Gerald Bray's debt for this new critical edition for a modern readership, which at last moves us beyond the familiar Victorian reprints. It is a perfect combination of careful scholarship and accessibility, and essential reading for every serious student of Anglicanism."

Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

 

 
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