This special issue seeks to expand the intellectual landscape of English Protestantism over the course of its long Reformation from the early sixteenth through the late seventeenth centuries. England's protracted conflict over its Protestant identity encouraged the diversification of its orientations to sacred texts and religious traditions, stretching it beyond western Europe to the eastern Mediterranean world. The essays examine English Protestant engagement with Hellenic, Hebraic, and Arabic sources and traditions within a wider context than typically explored in existing narratives. They illustrate how English Protestant scholarship reinforced stereotypes, while also prompting self-reflection and inspiring the reconstruction of England's own traditions and cultural assumptions. Expanding English ecclesiastical, theological, exegetical, philological, and cultural interests, the volume calls for a more fluid and “connected history” to understand the full scope of English Reformation thought and its engagement with non-Western churches and traditions.


The geography of Reformation England used to be clearly defined, if not self-evident. It stood in stark contrast to the wider spread of Protestantism in both continental Europe and the rest of the British Isles. Maps charting the spread of reform in the sixteenth century reserved a special confessional shading for England's “Anglican” tradition.1 From this perspective, England enjoyed an “exceptional” status that defined itself as distinct from neighboring reformations. The English were not only distinct; they were destined to play a leading role in shaping modernity through the expansion of the British Empire and establishment of a wider Anglophone world.

Modern scholarship, however, has long dispelled the myth of English exceptionalism. Notwithstanding the idiosyncratic nature of Protestant reform in England, such mapping tends to date itself as a remnant of anachronistic Anglican mythologizing. Riding the tide of imperial expansion, the nineteenth century represented the high watermark of triumphal Whig historiography that converged with confessional nostalgia and denominational history from Anglican as well as diverse dissenting traditions. Twentieth-century scholarship liberated us from such denominational straightjacketing. Recovering a broad Protestant culture that encompassed diverse impulses (including voluntaristic ones), Patrick Collinson challenged the “excessively vertical, or linear treatment” of English religious traditions. He cautioned against approaching the study of Reformation England as an exercise in denominational genealogy.2 Recent scholarship has since continued to correct anachronistic categorization by expanding our understanding of the porous nature of confessional construction.3

However, the precise nature of English Protestantism and its intellectual landscape, not to mention its wider relations and role in laying the foundations of the later British Empire, has eluded any historical consensus. Coinciding with colonialism, the evolution of English Protestantism may seem impossible to disentangle from it. Indeed, historians have identified early models of English Protestant imperialism through its sixteenth-century Irish plantations and ambitions for dynastic union with Scotland.4 Alongside the expansion of merchant companies, historians have long explored the predominantly English Protestant civilizing mission in the New World.5 English Protestant identity once again became implicated in imperialism amidst the culture wars that erupted in the English civil wars, especially after Oliver Cromwell secured Parliament's victory over King Charles I. Seeking political stability by subduing external threats, Cromwell brutally suppressed the Irish and soon brought Scotland into submission. He further plotted to overtake a strategic outpost of the Spanish Empire in central America.6

On the other hand, the singular role of English Protestantism in laying the foundations of the British Empire has been revised by “new British history.” Alongside Christian providentialism, Protestant Reformation in both England and Scotland played a pivotal role in state-building and shaping the federative and disaggregated character of British empire-building. As David Armitage has argued, classical precedent, especially neo-Roman concepts of imperium, tended to supply a more cohesive ideological basis for the British Empire than a fractured Protestant one.7 Historians have further noted a shared Christian discourse of fulfilling the great commission in the New World that cut across confessional divisions by Spanish and British colonists.8

Yet, to view English Protestantism from under the shadows of the British or Spanish empires, or exclusively within a Latinate context, is to detach it from a wider scholarship that has increasingly expanded and redefined the nature of English Protestantism itself, including the breadth of its intellectual character. It also runs the risk of creating an inverse teleology of inevitable repression in place of linear triumphal progression. The early phase of England's “first empire” in the late sixteenth century has tended to face westward across the Atlantic in competition with Iberian expansion. Yet, it was precisely during this period, as new trade routes and alliances were being forged, that English Protestant thought was being fashioned and reconfigured by scholarship moving in the opposite direction.9 One motivation for turning eastward, ironically, was to liberate English history from Roman domination. It is beyond the scope of this special issue and introduction to engage in a full treatment of how English divines tapped into Hellenistic, Hebrew, and Arabic sources.10 However, Edward Said's pioneering Orientalism offers a helpful starting point for reflection. It alerted us to the dangers of how scholars have read the East through the modern West, or mythologized its classical past, only to use such knowledge as a means of domination and control. Yet, while indicting Western constructs of “Orientalism” as imperialistic, Said flagged the importance of identifying alternative models “to undertake studies in contemporary alternatives to Orientalism, to ask how one can study other cultures and peoples from a libertarian, or a nonrepressive and nonmanipulative, perspective.”11

How might we identify such alternative models? Alongside recent historiography in Reformation studies, Dipesh Chadrabarty's expansive view of minority histories and subaltern pasts has prompted us to reconceptualize European history itself by resisting historicization that charts a unified and secularized march culminating with European Enlightenment.12 Homi Bhabah has also helped us to deconstruct “cultures [which] are never unitary in themselves, nor simply dualistic in the relation of Self to Other.”13 Early modern English scholarship has further stressed the limitations of general terms such as “difference, alterity, and otherness . . . when applied to an English context in which conceptions of self and nation, as well as of non-English peoples and non-Christian religions, are unstable.”14 Acknowledging the internal fractures and contested nature of English Protestantism itself offers a helpful corrective to monolithic and anachronistic treatments of English Protestant engagement with other traditions, opening up the possibility of exploring broader connections without generalizing and glossing over differences among the English themselves.

The “spatial turn” in the field of history also helped to conceptualize how social practices shaped spatial relations. Applied to Reformation historiography, spatial history opened the possibility of exploring how the sacred helped to construct not only physical spaces, but also representative ones. Alexandra Walsham has explored the “complex and paradoxical” spatial relationships of reformation in the British Isles, which contained “impulses towards destruction and preservation” of sacred spaces and physical landscapes. Alongside continuity, “the period bore witness to initiatives that served to encrust the landscape with new structures and remould its existing geography in line with emerging ecclesiastical priorities and social and cultural fashions.”15 Can the same be said for England's intellectual landscape and its wider relationships? Historians have increasingly explored the intellectual highways used to transport ideas through epistolary networks and correspondence data.16 Alongside such epistolary networks and the topographical impact of the Reformation in the British Isles, new scholarship has begun to explore how English Protestant thought crisscrossed beyond the seas in multiple ways to create new intellectual landscapes.17 Further research might build on such work to explore how broader exchanges were not only culturally and intellectually constructed, but also materially expressed, physically embodied, and confessionally charged.18

This special issue illustrates how England's protracted conflict over its Protestant identity encouraged the diversification of its orientations to sacred texts and religious traditions, stretching it beyond western Europe to the eastern Mediterranean world. Each of the essays seeks to examine English Protestant engagement with Hellenic, Hebrew, and Arabic sources and traditions within a wider context than typically explored in existing narratives. The essays span the long Reformation from the Henrician break with the Church of Rome in the early sixteenth century to the post-Restoration and early-Enlightenment world in the later seventeenth century.19 They illustrate how English Protestants operated within, while also moving beyond, existing models by reinforcing stereotypes and functionalist readings, while also prompting self-reflection and inspiring the reconstruction of England's own traditions.

Motivations for looking East were mixed. The sudden break with the Church of Rome demanded a reconceptualization of England's political, ecclesiastical, and historical orientation. Unresolved ecclesiastical controversies, apocalyptic expectations, and confessional conflicts combined to inspire the use of a wider range of sources and add political urgency to securing English national interest. Yet, English scholarship at times exercised a sensitivity to historical diversity, contingency, and overlapping cultures and traditions. It was in part because English divines drew from non-Latinate sources and traditions for diverse pedagogical, ecclesiastical, and political ends that they took note of the different historical contexts and changes over time in these traditions, languages, theologies, and cultures. Such diverse uses of a broad range of sources opened multiple, and sometimes contradictory impulses within English Protestantism, including both exploitative and nonmanipulative uses, as well as both imperialistic and nonimperialistic assumptions. The wide range of sources used by English Protestants in turn contributed to its dynamic nature as it continued to evolve over the course of the long Reformation.


The trouble with defining English Protestantism is that mapping the Reformation in England has always been messy, and its boundaries resist conclusive definition for numerous reasons. This is true of its geographical, chronological, theological, cultural, and broader intellectual scope. Protestants throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries endlessly disagreed over the precise status of England's reform, exercising a longer memory and wider geographic reach than modern scholarship sometimes allows. They argued over how to align the Church of England in relation to the church throughout history as well as in relation to the Church of Rome. They also quarreled over their relationship to neighboring continental European Protestants. The changing religious landscape across Europe, with confessional disagreement between Lutheran and Reformed traditions, only made England's location on the Reformation map more problematic to pin down with any precision. No wonder that unresolved questions over England's “Catholic and Reformed” identity escalated in the seventeenth century.20 Such questions surrounding England's identity have become a major organizing structure for understanding confessional development as well as the breakdown of politics and religion in the wars that engulfed all three kingdoms in the British Isles in the mid-seventeenth century.

The problem stubbornly refused to go away, even after Parliament vindicated the “Protestant” cause by winning the war against the forces of an alleged “Popish conspiracy.”21 English Protestant identity remained unresolved by revolutionary developments that culminated with the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649. The mid-seventeenth century only served to unleash both radical and conservative forces that further exacerbated tensions over England's alignment to Catholic and Reformed traditions. The problem reared its head again in the political and religious discord after the Restoration in 1660, triggering the Glorious Revolution in 1688 when King James II attempted to expand religious toleration for English Catholic subjects. The Toleration Act of 1689 was limited and only allowed dissenters within the bounds of Protestant orthodoxy to publicly worship and coexist. However, at minimum, it was a sign that Protestants (after a very long and exhausting Reformation) had come to agree to disagree on where they stood in relation to Catholic and Reformed traditions.22

Disagreement among historians nonetheless carried on and continued to rescale the geography of Reformation England. Twentieth-century narratives tended to zoom into different regions and sources to produce competing and often contradictory pictures of the church on the eve of Henry VIII's break with the Church of Rome. A. G. Dickens peered through the lens of religious dissent documented in church court records to write a history of popular disillusionment with the church that welcomed reformation from below. At first glance, regions that harbored Lollard dissent appeared to be more urban and cosmopolitan in character.23 The revisionist historiography of the late twentieth century provided a rather different source base and geography. For example, Eamon Duffy's Stripping of the Altars examined the ritual and material life in the localities, along with his subsequent microhistory of the village of Morebath, to recover the vitality of a traditional religion inherited from the late medieval church.24 But sweeping impressions aside, there were no strict geographic divisions. Lollardy took root across East Anglia and the Midlands, as well as spreading further north in York and south in Buckinghamshire and Kent.25 If anything, recent historiography has complicated reformation in the localities by recovering religious variation within particular regions. People of progressive and traditional religious persuasions engaged in a surprising degree of collaboration and accommodation.26 Recent work on the culture of Protestantism and the political uses to which it could be deployed have given us fresh insight into how reform permeated life in complex ways that defy tidy categorizations.27

Viewed from a wider context, revisionist narratives that chronicled the endurance of traditional religion in England were following, and embodying, the new intellectual contours of European Reformation which had challenged the hard-and-fast break between Protestant thought and the medieval West. Heiko Oberman, David Steinmetz, and Richard Muller recovered how a longer Latinate medieval scholastic tradition continued to shape Protestant thought in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.28 The Brill series “Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions,” the Notre Dame University Press series “ReFormations: Medieval and Early Modern,” and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies have continued to help dismantle the artificial boundaries that once divided medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation scholarship. Such diachronic approaches broaden and deepen our appreciation of Reformation thought and culture. It challenges the lingering confessional dichotomies that continue to plague scholarship beyond the obvious denominational anachronisms of the nineteenth century.

Yet, English Protestant thought has cautiously resisted both geographic specification and movement in any one direction. Alongside the recovery of a diachronic approach to Reformation studies, historians remapped English Protestant thought by recovering the theological dynamism and broad erudition that informed confessional construction across Europe and Britain. It is worth pausing here to flag the dangers of reading entire religious traditions through particular moments of confessional definition in isolation. The selection of sources, such as archives of repression, for studying early modern histories can predispose our narratives toward cultures of conflict. Documenting confession-building with purely internalist or functionalist interests is unlikely to lend itself to highlighting mutual exchange; such approaches are obviously more inclined to accentuate preoccupation with religious purity and suspicion of the unfamiliar.29 The same can be said more generally for “controversialist” approaches to intellectual histories that drive global narratives through confrontational moments.30

Historians have illustrated how more fluid approaches to confessional development on a wider scale could be intellectually generative rather than necessarily reductive. Reconsidering early English reform, Diarmaid MacCulloch dismantled the “exceptional” status of England by highlighting the prominent role of refugees from continental Europe, especially in Edwardian England.31 For instance, the Book of Common Prayer, the centerpiece of English devotion, was indebted to the Strasburg reformer Martin Bucer's extensive editorial suggestions in its revision.32 Torrance Kirby has long argued for the Italian reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli's pivotal role in aiding the English in defense of the Crown's supremacy over the Church of England.33 Carl Trueman and Carrie Euler have studied how the reception and translation of Continental scholarship, including Martin Luther and Zurich divines, could be used to counter heterodoxy as well as offer spiritual comfort to afflicted consciences across a broad religious spectrum.34

The reception of Continental scholarship by English divines continued to develop over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries into a historical method that could involve weighing their relative weight in relation to each other and assigning a hierarchy to a particular author's own writing.35 Historians are beginning to delve further into the English reception of Continental Reformation scholarship by tapping into the oriental scholarship it also introduced to England. While oriental scholarship became a bone of confessionalized contention on the Continent among Lutheran and Reformed scholars, ongoing research promises to examine the diverse uses of oriental scholarship in England, which was informed by Continental Protestant thought while also addressing concerns particular to English and British questions, especially unresolved ecclesiastical ones.

Some of the most fruitful scholarship on confessionalization has explored its relationship to historical method, which developed out of mutual claims to antiquity by early modern scholars.36 Protestant engagement with earlier traditions was most obviously filtered through Graeco-Roman scholarship in the Renaissance. Yet, new scholarship on erudition and confessional development continues to expand our appreciation of the range of sources and traditions that shaped Protestant thought, especially in the seventeenth century. In doing so, it has moved beyond earlier narratives that tend to index modern scholarly preoccupations more accurately than early modern ones by treating the Western church in isolation or through a static application of scholastic method.37 Historians have recovered the cosmopolitan nature of erudition in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries—including interest in the Near East, a growing body of oriental scholarship, and new critical methodologies—as a product of confessionalization. Burgeoning from within orthodoxy, historicization cannot be purely seen as a product of secularized attacks on orthodoxy which are traditionally associated with Enlightenment thought.38

It would be easy to miss the dynamism of early Reformation England by associating such expansion with the more conspicuous and richly sourced intellectual currents of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But as recent scholarship has stressed, this would be mistaken. It may be obvious, but it is still crucial, to stress that like the hybrid cultures that converged in antiquity and early Christianity, the dynamic medieval traditions that also informed English Protestantism were themselves immersed in wider oriental scholarship that developed out of the multicultural connections forged across the Mediterranean world, stretching well beyond a strictly Latinate tradition. Yet, while confessional trends from continental Europe informed English scholarship, it was the contested confessional identity and unresolved nature of English reform that also animated, expanded, and diversified non-Christian cultures and sources in antiquity and the rich array of medieval traditions that informed English Protestant thought.


Henry VIII's initial break from the Church of Rome was of course driven by his quest to secure a male heir. In this context, non-Latinate traditions were obviously useful for constructing an alternative religious lineage to the Church of Rome. It was convenient for the king to include the leading Hebrew scholar, Robert Wakefield, in his team of theological experts. Wakefield famously grounded objections to Henry's first marriage by reinterpreting Levitical law, and along with other scholars drew from Hebrew scholarship on divine kingship to justify royal supremacy. David Katz has further discussed the influence that a small circle of learned Italian rabbis played in supporting Henry's divorce.39 In order to sever papal allegiance, it was crucial for the Crown to claim jurisdictional independence from any foreign power and assert its own supremacy over the church in England. So began a redrawing of the history of Christianity in the British Isles.40

We have long known that the early English Reformation, and especially its initial jurisdictional break with the Roman Catholic Church and rejection of papal supremacy, had strategic reasons for reaching beyond Rome to support its theological and ecclesiastical claims. But Anastasia Stylianou goes further in her essay, “Textual Representations of Greek Christianity during the English Reformations,” to identify the segmentation and exploitation of particular moments within Eastern Christianity to either justify or challenge the Church of England's break with Rome as well as examining the contemporary Greek response to English independence.41 Henrician apologists latched onto the Greek church fathers to recenter theological discourse further east in addition to making use of early Byzantine history to establish jurisdictional independence from Rome. In contrast, Reginald Pole turned to the later collapse of Constantinople to warn of the dangers of rebellion against the Western church. One contemporary Greek account of Henrician Reformation offers yet another layer of interpretation by showing sympathies with the Church of England's break with Rome that were not necessarily prompted by antipapal sentiments.

The uses of Greek Christianity resurfaced in the later sixteenth century as the Elizabethan martyrologist John Foxe opened his Acts and Monuments with the Eastern lineage of British Christianity in antiquity to challenge dependence on Rome.42 On the surface, Stylianou's discussion of the Constantinian example as an alternative to Rome might appear to have offered a straightforward solution for securing English jurisdictional independence. But it also adds another interpretive layer to the Henrician Reformation and royal supremacy. Rather than simply underpinning national independence from the Church of Rome, it opens the possibility of further undertones of imperial kingship under Henry VIII and his successors, alluding to empire that reached beyond mere sovereignty within an independent state. Current research on the physical presence of Greek Christians in England and a growing interest in the reception of Hellenism in the sixteenth century promise to raise new questions about early modern self-fashioning, challenging straightforward readings of early Tudor royal supremacy and the Church of England's relationship with wider Christendom and the early modern world.43

Nor is it possible to remain insular when studying the most emblematic aspect of England's distinctively national Reformation history: its translation of the Bible into the vernacular. It is noteworthy that Foxe himself gained access to a wide range of scholarship during his exile under Mary I. This was also true of earlier reformers in England. William Tyndale escaped the volatile nature of Henrician politics by taking refuge in central Europe, only to become immersed in wider oriental scholarship that he infused into English Protestant thought through his translations of the Bible. Exile not only provided Tyndale immediate access to Reformed Hebraists, but also furnished him with medieval Jewish commentaries by Moses and David Kimchi and Rashi, whom he cited directly in his interpretation of the Old Testament.44 George Joye appealed to the authority of “Rabbi Kimhy” and his use by Bucer to challenge Tyndale in their disagreement over the word resurrection in Psalm 1:6.45 The translation into English of Bucer's psalter was another avenue through which medieval rabbinic scholarship, including Rashi, Kimchi, and Abraham Ibn Ezra, filtered into the English language through the Coverdale Bible.46 Tyndale's immersion in Hebrew scholarship and encounter with a wider range of sources made its way directly into English. In making his case for the Bible in the vernacular, Tyndale at once recovered the “mother tongue” of the original scriptures, and claimed that English agreed with the Greek and Hebrew better than Latin.47 The first English divine to introduce Hebraism into his translation of New Testament Greek, Tyndale also revised his translation of Genesis alongside his reading of New Testament Greek. As his biographer, David Daniel, has argued, Tyndale's study of Hebrew reshaped the English language itself, introducing new vocabulary as well as new grammatical constructions from his translation of Hebrew.48

Remapping England in relation to Rome and the Continent was fraught with problems as the religious identity under the Tudors rapidly changed directions in quick succession under Edward VI and Mary I. The Greek fathers could be deployed to feed the popular impulses of Protestant reform and personal Bible reading among the laity. Thomas Cranmer defended the translation of the Bible into the English vernacular by drawing from Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea in his preface to the king's Great Bible of 1539. If the Hebrew doctors informed men and women reading Tyndale's translation of the Bible in the vernacular, the Greek fathers justified universal access to reading scripture in the vernacular. Other Protestant doctrines and liturgical practices could also be fueled by oriental scholarship from patristic to medieval rabbinic sources. The prominence of Protestant exiles from the Continent became a signature of Edwardian reform thanks to Archbishop Cranmer's heavy recruiting activity. During his stay in England, Peter Martyr Vermigli, for example, famously supplied Cranmer with a new manuscript copy of Chrysostom's works, which were pivotal in the evolution of Cranmer's eucharistic theology.49 Martyr also brought with him a familiarity with medieval Jewish exegesis, especially Rashi's commentary.50 When Mary I came to the throne, Protestant exiles continued to advance their study of non-Latinate sources. William Whittingham's translation of the metrical psalms from the Hebrew into English continued the trend that began with Tyndale's translations and was sung into the seventeenth century.51

The deliberate ambiguity of Elizabeth I's religious settlement further invited competing views of the nature of the Church of England. John Foxe was not alone in identifying the early English church with Eastern Christianity.52 John Jewel was another former exile under Mary who latched onto such alternative readings of history. Jewel's polemical exchanges with Catholic critics, most notably Thomas Harding, prompted him to explicitly outline alternative routes by which Christianity had arrived in Britain. Jewel dismissed the role of Pope Gregory in commissioning Augustine to missionize Britain, claiming a far more ancient Christianity in Britain that had in fact helped establish Constantinople as a beacon of Christendom.53 The urgency of finding alternatives to Rome undoubtedly pushed the geographic scope of the English Protestant imagination in the first few decades of Elizabeth's reign. What remains less clear is precisely how the wider use of oriental scholarship entered directly into the construction of the Church of England's defense of its liturgy and became embedded into its confessional identity.54

One line of interpretation identifies a pivot from John Foxe's association of Jewish tradition with Roman Catholicism to Richard Hooker's positive appeals to it in defense of conformity.55 My own contribution to this special issue, “Who Owns the Hebrew Doctors? Oriental Scholarship, Historical Proportionality, and the Puritan ‘Invention’ of Avant-Garde Conformity,” fills a gap in the existing literature by exploring how both nonconformist and conformist divines tapped into the historical dynamism of medieval works produced in the Jewish and Islamic Mediterranean world to resolve ecclesiastical debate.56 Puritan nonconformity was a nuisance that Elizabeth I and John Whitgift (as Master of Trinity College Cambridge and later archbishop of Canterbury) wished away. However, puritan exile on the Continent only served to arm leading nonconformists such as Walter Travers with Jewish exegesis that could be deployed to argue for Reformed ecclesiastical polity. Turning to rabbinic commentary in his magisterial presbyterian treatise in the mid-1570s, Travers used Abraham Ibn Ezra's works to sketch patterns and proportional arguments from the Old Testament to interpret spiritual censure and government in the apostolic church. Furthermore, before oriental sources premiered in Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, controversy with Travers in the mid-1580s pressed Hooker on a series of questions that brought Jewish tradition to the fore. Were the foundations of the doctrine of justification by faith alone undermined if works or ceremonies were considered as necessary for salvation in addition to faith in Christ? Moving beyond the question of Roman Catholic tradition, Hooker and Travers disputed the example of the Galatians joining their faith with circumcision as permissible for a time. This provides a broader context for Hooker's later argument for the permissibility of retaining certain Jewish rites under certain circumstances, for historical contingency in Jewish and Christian traditions, and the positive appropriation of Jewish sources in the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity.

Yet, the reception of rabbinic literature began to divide nonconformists themselves by the early seventeenth century. The separatist Henry Ainsworth and minister of the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam, John Paget, argued over the relative use of rabbinic sources and carried on the debate over proportioning the New Testament in relation to the Hebrew Bible. What troubled Paget about Ainsworth's references to Maimonides was the interpretive flexibility and multiple readings of scripture that it opened up as possibilities. At the heart of their disagreement was how to exercise historical sensitivity to a layered Jewish tradition and account for its change over time, its historical method, and its reliability. Rather than simply ransacking rabbinic sources to exploit them for their own purposes, Paget took issue with Ainsworth precisely because he was less selective in his reading. More troubling, Ainsworth appeared to be self-consciously more promiscuous in his citations, including views which were contrary to his received Protestant orthodoxy. This marked a shift away from simply claiming the Hebrew doctors as mere support for ecclesiological positions and toward conscripting them into early modern deliberations as more active participants. On the one hand, oriental scholarship could be used to accentuate clericalist tendencies, both among conformists and nonconformists. But Ainsworth's extensive use of Maimonides also expands our appreciation of the range of approaches to oriental scholarship that shaped the development of radical puritan views in the early seventeenth century.57 Furthermore, extensive notes from Maimonides that informed Ainsworth's commentaries were read by nonconformists across the spectrum, including those in favor of magisterial reform and the most radical exponents of religious liberty such as Roger Williams.


The Reformation was long because it stretched far back; it was also wide because the diversity of its medieval past pushed beyond the myopic impression of a hermetically sealed Latinate tradition sometimes implied by revisionist scholarship. But the Reformation was also long because the unresolved debates over the nature of the church carried on throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Continued debate over alternative ecclesiastical models to the Church of Rome further stretched the boundaries of English Protestant thought, spurring on oriental scholarship throughout the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Ecclesiastical controversy escalated under the reign of Charles I when he attempted to resolve religious divisions by imposing greater religious uniformity across the British Isles, only to plunge all three kingdoms into war. When Parliament sought to manage the confessional crisis by summoning the Westminster Assembly of divines to reform the Church of England in July 1643, it assigned the delegation a three-fold task: to revise the English liturgy, reform church government, and to vindicate and clear the church's doctrine from “false Aspersions and Interpretations.”58 However, it was the second of those tasks on church government that became notoriously divisive, spilling over into public ecclesiastical controversies surrounding the assembly's deliberations.59

Recent scholarship on these ecclesiastical disagreements has helpfully employed scholastic modes of discourse in understanding diverse readings of key passages on spiritual censure such as Matthew 16:18–19.60 However, there are also limitations to exploring entire debates and ecclesiastical polities through a single mode of analysis. Kirsten Macfarlane's article, “John Lightfoot (1602–1675), the Westminster Assembly, and the Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae,” makes a seminal contribution to the history of the Westminster Assembly by examining the wider contexts and texts produced by members of the sssembly that shed light on the well-studied ecclesiastical debates raised on the floor.61 The eminent Hebraist John Lightfoot tapped into the fast-moving neo-Latin Continental scholarship to elucidate the depth of erudition and contemporary scholarship that informed some of the most pivotal questions dividing the assembly over the nature of the church. Lightfoot weighed into debates over whether early Christians met as a singular congregation or through plural congregations by studying the cultural and linguistic diversity of Second Temple Judaism. Lightfoot noted both the Western and Eastern dispersions of the Jews, including the diversity of languages within the Eastern diaspora from Mesopotamian, to Persian, to Syriac. Alongside linguistic diversity, the assembly debated the cultural hierarchies among dispersed Jews and proselytes, arguing over the historical contingency of poor relief and the office of the deacon.

This kind of engagement within the Westminter Assembly was more than an isolated exercise in pressing Jewish scholarship into service. Macfarlane explores Lightfoot's development of these themes, following the assembly, in his influential Horae Hebraicae, which continued to serve as one of the most important references for rabbinic commentary until the early twentieth century. Identifying connections between Lightfoot's participation in the Westminster Assembly with his later work reveals the ongoing history of those debates, echoing previous arguments while advancing them further. For instance, Lightfoot delved even deeper into his analysis of the “distrust of Greek among Hebrew-speaking Jews” which “underwrote a strong prejudice against those who spoke only Greek, who were considered the ‘lowest class’ of Jews.” Macfarlane is careful to point out that “this is not to say that such knowledge resulted in better conditions for or relations with contemporary Jews: the opposite could just as easily be the case.” Yet, over the course of the seventeenth century, “the appropriation and assimilation of Jewish texts, sources, and authors into Christian scholarship and debate was a mainstream occurrence.” Keen interest in the earliest Christianity led to renewed emphasis on rabbinic scholarship and on common and overlapping worship with Jewish sects. English Protestant thought continued to expand as “some of the most exciting developments in the study of ancient Judaism were focused on polyglot diasporas.”62

While Latin undoubtedly remained a dominant language in learned discourse, English Protestants continued to turn to a wide range of languages, sources, and cultural practices throughout the seventeenth century. The Septuagint held a prominent role as an alternative to the Vulgate, appearing in sixteenth-century Polyglot Bibles. In addition to Greek and Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac were embedded in the study of biblical texts. As Laudian Professor of Arabic and Regius Professor of Hebrew, Edward Pococke developed a comparative philological method for interpreting Hebrew words that explained apparent discrepancies between passages from the Hebrew Bible cited in the Greek New Testament according to the Septuagint translation and the same passages as they stood in the received Hebrew text.

Simon Mills's essay, “Edward Pococke (1604–1691), Comparative Arabic-Hebrew Philology, and the Bible,” explores a further implication of Pococke's method, whereby the Hebrew is shown to contain multiple literal senses uncovered through comparison with cognate words in the related oriental languages, including Syriac, Aramaic, and Arabic.63 Pococke argued that cognate words in Arabic could even reveal multiple senses of the Hebrew that were deliberately ambiguous, encompassing immediate and future contexts. The London Polyglot Bible that appeared at the end of the Interregnum also encouraged Pococke's comparative study. Looking beyond the Arabic versions derived from the “Antiochian” Syrian and Egyptian “Alexandrian” traditions, Pococke turned instead to Saadia Gaon's translation of the Pentateuch, and to a translation of the prophetic books made directly from the Hebrew. Traditional scholarship has assumed that the Arabic translations contributed little more to biblical criticism after the Polyglot's publication. However, Mills argues that Pococke delved more deeply into the comparative study of Hebrew and Arabic in the years after the Restoration. Stressing the link between Hebrew and Arabic even more in his later scholarship, Pococke drew from a wide range of Hebraic-Arabic sources to interpret the Hebrew Bible. As a chaplain to the Levant company in Aleppo and Constantinople in the 1630s, and thanks to the later efforts of his friend Robert Huntington, he had accumulated medieval Jewish lexicons and commentaries by Abu al-Walid Ibn Janah (ca. 990–1055) and Tanhum ben Joseph (d. 1291). These works he added to the more familiar range of medieval rabbinic sources explored elsewhere in this special issue.

In one sense, Pococke's comparative approach to oriental languages bolstered his “general unwillingness to countenance any alterations” to the received Hebrew text. Mills highlights how the conservative theologian John Owen praised Pococke for upholding the integrity of the Hebrew Bible. However, Pococke also displayed “a disarmingly relaxed acceptance of the possibility that individual words might have many, equally valid meanings.” This differentiated his scholarship from that of some Reformed exegetes, such as André Rivet, who were troubled by the implication that the Bible could have multiple literal senses. Pococke's biblical commentaries again serve to illustrate how different approaches to oriental scholarship were intertwined with the theological agendas of any given scholar. In Pococke's biblical commentaries we have a counterexample to “the kind of ecumenical open-mindedness, often noted by historians of Pococke's scholarship on Islam.” Instead, we see “more the polemical use of Jewish sources, typical of seventeenth-century theologians,” especially as Pococke used his biblical scholarship to defend Christological interpretations of the Old Testament.64

How far did such erudite scholarship move beyond elite theological circles? Kirsten Macfarlane has built on recent work exploring the “appeal of biblical scholarship, even of the most high-octane and demanding kind, to ordinary lay readers” and has argued for the popular appeal of the learned Hebraist Hugh Broughton's scholarship in the early seventeenth century. Scoring full marks for impact and public engagement, Broughton intentionally translated his work in prophecy, genealogy, and biblical scholarship for popular audiences, lecturing “among the ordinary people of London, who came in droves to hear him.”65 Meanwhile, heightened millenarian expectation in the revolutionary circumstances of the mid-seventeenth century further fed Hebrew learning beyond elite circles of theologians and erudite scholars, including women who were lower down the social order. For instance, lay female readers unfamiliar with Latin and Greek were supplied with Hebrew grammar books in the vernacular.66 While heightened millenarian expectations began to expand the social breadth of oriental scholarship, it also continued to move across the confessional spectrum. Female study of Hebrew worried the bishop of Chester and biblicist Brian Walton, who lamented that “some Citizens, yea women in London, who having learned to read Hebrew, were so conceited of themselves, that they have despised the ablest Divines about the City and have almost doubted of the salvation of all persons that could not read Hebrew.”67

One product of wider millenarian anticipation of Jewish conversion was the publication in 1646 of a vocalized edition of the Mishnah, which added vowel points to aid in reading. Its original design and purposes were diverse. It could enable Jewish conversos to rediscover their own traditions. For militant and nonconforming Protestants, it could underscore the shared beliefs of Christians and Jews and serve as a tool of Jewish conversion to usher in the Second Coming. In “From Rabbis and Millenarians to High Church Orthodoxy: Edward Bernard (1638–1697) Reads the 1646 Amsterdam Vocalized Mishnah,” Thomas Roebuck adds a new chapter in the reception of the vocalized Mishnah and marks a shift in our understanding of English Protestant Mishnaic studies by examining its uses in post-Restoration England after initial chiliastic fervor in the mid-seventeenth century had subsided.68 He identifies new evidence of its reorientation by the high churchman Edward Bernard, analyzing a remarkable copy of this book, the most heavily annotated by a seventeenth-century Christian that has so far come to light. Roebuck's essay reveals how the vocalized Mishnah became a tool of scholarship in the hands of Bernard to remap multiple fields of knowledge, including a vital element within the construction of a consistent standard for weights and measures across classical and Near Eastern traditions. Bernard also used the Mishnah to interpret the Old and (especially) New Testaments. Applied to the epistles of Paul, the Mishnah not only supplied a philological key for understanding the semitic languages in the New Testament, but further identified shared cultural and theological ones. For instance, the adaptability to local custom to avoid offense could be documented in celebration of the Passover (Pesahim 4:1) and in 1 Corinthians 9. Yet, Roebuck further identifies a crucial development in the study of the Mishnah in its own right, marking a shift away from the dominant evangelical motivations among nonconformists in publishing the vocalized Mishnah in the mid-seventeenth century. Bernard studied the vocalized Mishnah, Roebuck argues, as a propaedeutic tool enabling him to move beyond the reading of tractates that had been translated into Latin, and thus his use of the book mirrors that intended by its original Jewish creators, who had hoped that the vocalized Mishnah might become a pedagogic tool. In some of his most fascinating annotations to the Mishnah, Bernard points to correspondences with the Protestant church. But what was the function of such observations? At least in part Bernard was lending authority to the practices of the Restoration church of his own day by implying their antiquity. But Roebuck also suggests the reverse, that “the correspondences between the Mishnah's teachings and the New Testament or church practice are what confirm the Mishnah's value and authority,” which had itself become a matter of confessionalized argument in Bernard's era.69 Bernard's approach to the Mishnah was influential among English and Dutch scholars at the end of the seventeenth century, who like Bernard were inspired by Lightfoot and Pococke.

Oriental scholarship in England, particularly Pococke's acquisition of sources, exploited commercial networks such as the Levant company's trade and became embedded in the colonial histories that developed over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.70 However, viewed from the wider context of the long Reformation, English Protestants drew from a complex tradition of reception that was itself animated by competing interests and impulses. Oriental scholarship could move across confessions; ecclesiastical, theological, exegetical, philological, and cultural interests could open alternative approaches as they exposed divines to new intellectual terrain. If English divines shamelessly deployed sources for polemical ends, at other times confessionally driven readings could become more educative, and selective readings could be followed by more expansive ones. Indeed, some divines were drawn to a wider body of literature precisely because it challenged working assumptions, inspired alternative readings, and enabled the English to develop a critical distance from their received tradition. However fraught the use of these sources and their translation, they reshaped both the English language itself along with its religious customs and cultural assumptions over the course of the long Reformation.

It was precisely because English Protestant identity itself remained contested throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that oriental sources exercised a protracted role that was too prominent and diverse to render the relationship as straightforwardly hegemonic. Early modern English Protestant thought defies any generalizations that deterministically characterize its wider relationships. If the articles in this special issue combine to reveal deep intellectual and cultural exchanges that resist rigid categorization, they demand a more fluid and “connected history” to understand the full scope of Reformation thought in England and its engagement with non-Western churches and traditions. The continued remapping of English Protestant thought is bound to reinforce existing models of uses and abuses. It will enrich our understanding of relationships, mixed and muddied. But it also promises to recover a range of alternative aspirations and interpretive practices, long forgotten and often overshadowed, which can in turn help us to chart a wider, more connected, and fluid early modern world.

I wish to thank the editors of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies for inviting me to guest edit this special issue, and the invited participants and contributors from the collaborative workshop “Remapping English Protestant Thought” from which this volume arose. The workshop was convened by the guest editor and Anastasia Stylianou in September 2021 and supported by Duke's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the University of East Anglia, and Leverhulme Trust. I am also grateful to David Aers and the contributors for their helpful thoughts and feedback on this introductory essay.



For a succinct discussion of the “exceptionalism” of the English Reformation, see Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Putting the English Reformation on the Map,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 15 (2005): 75–95.


Patrick Collinson, “Towards a Broader Understanding of the Early Dissenting Tradition,” in Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism (London: Hambledon Press, 1983), 527–62.


Peter Marshall summarizes these trends in “(Re)defining the English Reformation,” Journal of British Studies 48, no. 3 (2009): 564–86.


David Beers Quinn, “Ireland and Sixteenth-Century European Expansion,” Historical Studies I: Papers Read before the Second Irish Conference of Historians, ed. T. Desmond Williams (London: Bowes and Bowes, 1958), 20–32; Nicholas Canny, “The Ideology of English Colonization: From Ireland to America,” William and Mary Quarterly 30, no. 4 (1973): 575–98; Roger Mason, “The Scottish Reformation and the Origins of Anglo-British Imperialism,” in Mason, ed., Scots and Britons: Scottish Protestant Thought and the Union of 1603 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 170–86.


For example, see David S. Lovejoy, Religious Enthusiasm in the New World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985); and more recently David Armitage and Michael J. Braddick, eds., The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800 (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, 2002).


See Bernard Capp, England's Culture Wars: Puritan Reformation and Its Enemies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). For recent surveys of Cromwellian conquest and expansion, see Michael O'Siochru, God's Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland (London: Faber and Faber, 2008); R. Scott Spurlock, Cromwell and Scotland: Conquest and Religion, 1650–1660 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2007); Carla Pestana, The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640–1661 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007); David Armitage, “The Cromwellian Protectorate and the Languages of Empire,” The Historical Journal 35, no. 3 (1992): 531–55. Ethan Shagan's account comes the closest to capturing the contingency and alternative possibilities of English notions of empire, in The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion, and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 187–219.


David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 61–99.


For comparative studies between the British and Spanish empires, see J. E. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492–1830 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006); and Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Puritan Conquistadors: Iberianizing the Atlantic, 1550–1700 (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2006). For examples of the construction of English Protestant colonization in opposition to Spain, see Shagan, The Rule of Moderation, 187–219; and Polly Ha, “Godly Globalisation: British Calvinism in Bermuda,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 66, no. 3 (2015): 543–61.


For an overview of the impact of Arabic scholarship, see G. J. Toomer, Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).


The ambivalent role of the Jews in the successive editions of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments is discussed in Sharon Achinstein, “John Foxe and the Jews,” Renaissance Quarterly 54, no. 1 (2001): 86–120.


Edward Said, Orientalism (London: Penguin, 1978), 24. I have opted in this essay to use contemporary seventeenth-century language when referring to oriental scholarship (though in lowercase fom), despite its current valence in modern scholarship. For a recent discussion of early modern usage of “oriental,” see Daniel Stolzenberg, “What Was Oriental Studies in Early Modern Europe? ‘Oriental Languages’ and the Making of a Discipline,” in Allure of the Ancient: Receptions of the Ancient Middle East, ca. 1600–1800, ed. Margaret Geoga and John Steele (Leiden: Brill, 2022), 343–74.


Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000), 101. For a recent summary of challenges to the secularizing narrative in the historicization of the English Reformation, see Alexandra Walsham, “History, Memory, and the English Reformation,” The Historical Journal 55, no. 4 (2012): 899–938, at 901–7.


Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994) 35–36.


Matthew Dimmock, “Early Modern Travel, Conversion, and Languages of ‘Difference,’ ” Journeys 14, no. 2 (2013): 10–26, at 13.


Alexandra Walsham, The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 13.


For a summary of current projects undertaking early modern epistolary analysis, see John Randolph, “The Space of Intellect and the Intellect of Space,” in Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, ed. Darrin M. McMahon and Samuel Moyn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 212–25; and in the same volume, David Armitage, “The International Turn in Intellectual History,” 232–45.


See Simon Mills, A Commerce of Knowledge: Trade, Religion, and Scholarship between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1600–1760 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).


For an example of such work, see Will Coster and Andrew Spicer, Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 81–103, 211–36; Kenneth Fincham and Nicholas Tyacke, Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religious Worship, 1547–c. 1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Alec Ryrie, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).


See Nicholas Tyacke, ed., England's Long Reformation, 1500–1800 (London: Routledge, 1998).


See Anthony Milton, Catholic and Reformed: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought, 1600–1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).


Peter Lake, “Anti-Popery: The Structure of a Prejudice,” in Conflict in Early Stuart England: Studies in Religion and Politics, 1603–1642, ed. Richard Cust and Ann Hughes (London: Longman, 1989), 72–106; Ethan Shagan, “Constructing Discord: Ideology, Propaganda, and English Responses to the Irish Rebellion of 1641,” Journal of British Studies 36, no. 1 (2014): 4–34.


See Tim Harris, Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685–1720 (London: Allen Lane, 2006).


See A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (London: Batsford, 1964).


Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992); and Duffy, The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001).


For example, see A. G. Dickens, Lollards and Protestants in the Diocese of York, 1509–1558 (London: Oxford University Press, 1959).


Patrick Collinson, “The Cohabitation of the Faithful with the Unfaithful,” in From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England, ed. Ole Peter Grell, Jonathan I. Israel, and Nicholas Tyacke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 51–76; Alexandra Walsham, Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500–1700 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006).


See John Craig, Reformation, Politics, and Polemics: The Growth of Protestantism in East Anglian Market Towns, 1500–1610 (Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate, 2001); Ethan Shagan, Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).


Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963); David Steinmetz, Luther in Context (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Dogmatics, Volume 1: Prolegomena to Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1987).


For a recent discussion of confession-building in relation to concerns for doctrinal purity in Reformation history and postcolonial studies, see Susan R. Boettcher, “Post-Colonial Reformation? Hybridity in 16th-Century Christianity,” Social Compass 52, no. 4 (2005): 443–52.


Randolph, “The Space of Intellect and the Intellect of Space,” in Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, ed. McMahon and Moyn, 220.


MacCulloch, “Putting The English Reformation on the Map”; Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996).


Constantin Höpf, Martin Bucer and the English Reformation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1946), 55–98.


W. Torrance Kirby, The Zurich Connection and Tudor Political Theology (Leiden: Brill, 2007).


Carl Truman, Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525–1556 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994); Carrie Euler, Couriers of the Gospel: England and Zurich, 1531–1558 (Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2006).


See Polly Ha, “Reformation and the Uses of Reception,” in The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain, ed. Polly Ha and Patrick Collinson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), xv–xxv.


For example, see Irena Backus, Historical Method and Confessional Identity in the Era of the Reformation (1378–1615) (Leiden: Brill, 2003); and Jean-Louis Quantin, The Church of England and Christian Antiquity: The Construction of a Confessional Identity in the 17th Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).


For accusations of Judaizing in sixteenth-century debate, see G. Sujin Pak, The Judaizing Calvin: Sixteenth-Century Debate over the Messianic Psalms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).


Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Jan Loop, Johann Heinrich Hottinger: Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); William J. Bullman, Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion, and Politics in England and Its Empire, 1648–1715 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Dmitri Levitin, “From Sacred History to the History of Religion: Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity in European Historiography from Reformation to ‘Enlightenment,’ ” The Historical Journal 55, no. 4 (2012): 1117–1160, at 1137; Nicholas Hardy and Dmitri Levitin, Confessionalisation and Erudition in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 2019).


David Katz, The Jews in the History of England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 15–48.


See Felicity Heal, “What Can King Lucius Do for You? The Reformation and the Early British Church,” English Historical Review 120, no. 487 (2005): 593–614; Walsham, “History, Memory, and the English Reformation.”


Anastasia Stylianou, “Textual Representations of Greek Christianity during the English Reformations,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 53, no. 1 (2023): 25–54.


Sharon Achinstein in “John Foxe and the Jews” has illustrated how the indexing of the successive editions in Foxe's martyrology became increasingly antagonistic in its theological categorization and ethnic representation of Jews. As the threat from Catholic powers in Europe escalated over the course of Elizabeth's reign, Foxe progressively vilified Jews along with the Turkish and popish Antichrists.


Anastasia Stylianou's current research explores Anglo-Hellenic networks and English contacts with Greeks in the early modern period; see also Natasha Constantinidou and Han Lamers, eds., Receptions of Hellenism in Early Modern Europe: 15th–17th Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 2020).


David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994), 296.


Höpf, Bucer and the English Reformation, 214–15.


Höpf, 218–45.


“For the Greek tongue agreeth more with the English than with the Latin. And the properties of the Hebrew tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the English than with the Latin” (qtd. in Daniell, Tyndale, 326).


Daniell, 286.


MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer, 382.


John Patrick Donnelly, Calvinism and Scholasticism in Vermigli's Doctrine of Man and Grace (Leiden: Brill, 1976), 13–41.


Dan Danner, Pilgrimage to Puritanism: History and Theology of the Marian Exiles at Geneva, 1555–1560 (New York: Peter Lang, 1999), 103–34. It is beyond the scope of this special issue to examine the breadth of sources that informed Marian literature, but recent work on this includes William Wizeman, “The Marian Counter-Reformation in Print,” in Catholic Renewal and Protestant Resistance in Marian England, ed. Elizabeth Evenden and Vivienne Westbrook (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015), 143–64. See also a reexamination of Marian literature, including the uses of Chrysostom, in Eamon Duffy, Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2009),57–78.


See John Foxe, Actes and Monuments (London, 1563), bk. 1, sec. 1.


John Jewel, A Defence of the Apologie of the Churche of Englande (London, 1567), 11.


G. J. Cuming, “Eastern Liturgies and Anglican Divines, 1510–1662,” in The Orthodox Churches and the West, ed. Derek Baker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), 231–38; Alastair Hamilton, “The English Interest in the Arabic-Speaking Christians,” in The “Arabick” Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England, ed. G. A. Russel (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 30–53.


Achsah Guibbory, “The Church of England, Judaism, and the Jewish Temple in Early Modern England,” in Tradition, Heterodoxy, and Religious Culture: Judaism and Christianity in the Early Modern Period, ed. Chanita Goodblatt and Howard Kreisel (Beer-Sheva, Isr.: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2006), 11–27.


Polly Ha, “Who Owns the Hebrew Doctors? Oriental Scholarship, Historical Proportionality, and the Puritan ‘Invention’ of Avant-Garde Conformity,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 53, no. 1 (2023): 55–86.


As discussed below, Henry Jacob, who was one of the earliest exponents of novel claims to liberty and English independent thought, was also familiar with rabbinic work and ensured his son was tutored in Hebrew and Arabic while in exile in the Netherlands.


The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643–1652, ed. Chad van Dixhoorn and David F. Wright, 5 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 1:165.


Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1:7–12.


See Hunter Powell, The Crisis of British Protestantism: Church Power in the Puritan Revolution, 1638–44 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015).


Kirsten Macfarlane, “John Lightfoot (1602–1675), the Westminster Assembly, and the Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 53, no. 1 (2023): 87–116.


Macfarlane, 100, 101, 108.


Simon Mills, “Edward Pococke (1604–1691), Comparative Arabic-Hebrew Philology, and the Bible,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 53, no. 1 (2023): 117–48.


Mills, 125, 134.


Kirsten Macfarlane, Biblical Scholarship in an Age of Controversy: The Polemical World of Hugh Broughton (1549–1612) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 21–22, 59.


See, e.g., Hanserd Knollys, The Rudiments of the Hebrew Grammar in English; Published for the benefit of some friends, who being ignorant of the Latine, are desirous to understand the Bible in the Originall Tongue (London, 1648).


Qtd. in Scott Mandelbrote, “The Authority of the Word: Manuscript, Print, and the Text of the Bible in Seventeenth-Century England,” in The Uses of Script and Print, 1300–1700, ed. Julia Crick and Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 135–53, at 149.


Thomas Roebuck, “From Rabbis and Millenarians to High Church Orthodoxy: Edward Bernard (1638–1697) Reads the 1646 Amsterdam Vocalized Mishnah,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 53, no. 1 (2023): 149–78.


Roebuck, 168.


See Mills, A Commerce of Knowledge.

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