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Thomas Cranmer: A Life [Paperback]

By Diarmaid MacCulloch (Author)
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Item description for Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch...

This prize-winning biography provides the definitive account of the life of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, King Henry VIII's guide through three divorces, and ultimately a martyr for his Protestant faith. 40 illustrations. 40 illustrations.

Publishers Description
This prizewinning biography provides the definitive account of Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, King Henry VIII's guide through three divorces, and ultimately a martyr for his Protestant faith. English Reformation scholar Diarmaid MacCulloch draws on new manuscript sources in Britain and elsewhere to create this vivid new study -- the first on Cranmer in over thirty years.

"This book looks marvelous -- extremely good to read as well as being a definitive biography". -- Robert Harris, The Times (London)

"This lucidly written, deeply researched and surprisingly accessible biography of the man who served Henry VIII as Archbishop of Canterbury ... ably explores both Cranmer's drive and his persistent doubts". -- Allen D. Boyer, New York Times Book Review

"At last we have the truth about Archbishop Cranmer, the most controversial bigwig in the history of the English Church.... The best biography of Cranmer, sympathetic and candid about Cranmer's shortcomings". -- A.L. Rowse, Evening Standard

"Definitive....An intellectual biography of a man whose most dramatic personal moments, despite the blood-letting all around him, took place in his mind and soul". -- Stuart Ferguson, Wall Street Journal

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Yale University Press
Pages   704
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.14" Width: 6.14" Height: 1.67"
Weight:   2.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 17, 1998
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300074484  
ISBN13  9780300074482  

Availability  0 units.

More About Diarmaid MacCulloch

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Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University. His Thomas Cranmer (1996) won the Whitbread Biography Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize; The Reformation: A History (2004) won the Wolfson Prize and the British Academy Prize. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (2010), which was adapted into a six-part BBC television series, was awarded the Cundill and Hessel-Tiltman Prizes. His Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh were published in 2013 as Silence: A Christian History. His most recent television series, Sex and the Church, broadcast in 2015. He was knighted in 2012.

Diarmaid MacCulloch currently resides in Oxford. Diarmaid MacCulloch has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Bristol University of Oxford, UK University of Oxford, U.

Diarmaid MacCulloch has published or released items in the following series...
  1. How to Read Church History
  2. How to S

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > Irish
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4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
5Books > Subjects > History > Europe > England > General
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8Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Ireland
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican

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Reviews - What do customers think about Thomas Cranmer: A Life?

The Jury is still out  Jun 15, 2007
I have'nt finished this book but as you've asked me I respond. The book is heavy going,but probably no one will ever do better owing to the subject i.e Cranmer's deeds are known in all their inconsistancies in the earlier years,but nothing is known of the personal reasonings that gave rise to them.
Even the glories of his style of writing just seemed to come from nowhere,but the Author does a good job in explaining its inimitableness
A Worthwhile and Eye Opening Adventure  May 23, 2006
I took "Thomas Cranmer" on in order to make sense of a seeming paradox: What I already "knew" of him did not square with the theology I had begun to discover in his Collects and Prayer Book. I was curious!

MacCulloch does a masterful job at presenting this complex, and sometimes contradictory figure of the early English Reformation. Despite the derrogatory review given by "a reader," I found very little bias and no axe-grinding in this work. Actually, I came to the book expecting some bias. Even being thusly prepared and properly skeptical, I found only a very few times that MacCulloch let his own opinions show through. (When he does, it is in parentheses with exclamation points!!) You can almost hear him chuckle at times.

I read the book in 9 or 10 days, and never found it to be a chore; in fact, the most difficult thing was putting it down and going to bed! While the book is scholarly, and masterfully written, it is definitely not tedious or boring.

I came to the end of the book with a deep respect for Cranmer. I have many points of disagreement with him, and yet a certain admiration for his eventual willingness to heroically stand where he believed the Gospel compelled him to stand. Fr. James DeKoven, an early Anglican theological hero in Wisconsin, once said "We live at a time when cowardice in matters of religion has been elevated to the status of virtue." Archbishop Thomas Cranmer proved, in the end, to be anything but a coward.

I have corresponded several times now with Professor MacCulloch, and find him to be humble, dedicated, and helpful. I am now reading his "The Reformation: a history," and I plan to read everything else of his that I can get my hands on!
A masterful biography  Jun 9, 2005
Many Anglican history books have an axe to grind. But not this masterful biography. The Thomas Cranmer of MacCulloch is very human, but no villian nor an unblemished hero.

We see his theological evolution from a fairly orthodox Catholic to a stauch Protestant who went to the stake in defiance of Bloody Mary and the "Antichrist" Pope.

MacCulloch also takes the reader into the historical sources and their reliability. These, along with his extensive footnotes will be of interest to any serious student of Anglican history.

Yet this longish book is very readable and rarely gets bogged down, again unlike some other Anglican histories.

If you want to learn about Thomas Cranmer or about early Anglicanism, this book is a must read.

Mark Marshall is the author of God Knows What It's Like to be a Teenager.
Flawed Saint of the Church  Nov 5, 2003
MacCulloch's book provides access to the singularly foundational figure of the reformation in England. Most who recognize Cranmer's name at all know him only as the author of the first Prayer Book or the man who attained Henry VIII's annulment from Catherine. MacCullogh gives depth to Cranmer as a flawed yet faithful agent of the Church, one who sought with conviction the reformation of the Church of England but was also willing to slavishly follow his prince in order to achieve that reformation. The final chapter, chronicling Cranmer's fall and ultimate martyrdom, reads with the pace of a good novel. For Episcopalians and others with an affinity for the Anglican tradition, insight into Cranmer's life and thought is crucial, and MacCulloch presents that insight with skill.
Misleading information on Cranmer's theology--rubbish.  Nov 16, 2001
MacCulloch seeks to present Archbishop Cranmer as a radical protestant with little scholarly interest or knowledge of the early church, and also that the "via media" of Anglicanism that resulted from the English Reformation was contrary to Cranmer's radical protestant beliefs and is a "myth." While MacCulloch may have written a biography he failed to examine the source of Cranmer's beliefs and theology. MacCulloch claims that Cranmer's eucharistic theology stems from the Swiss Reformed tradition: one had only to read Basil Hall's essay in "Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar" edited by Ayris and Selwyn to see that this is demonstrably false. Cranmer was heavily influenced by Lutheranism as well as by the "exposition of the most holy and learned fathers and martyrs" of "the holy catholic church of Christ from the beginning" (Cranmer's words) and as such his theology clearly stands in the same line as that of Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes. This sort of "scholarship" with an obvious ax to grind is perhaps the worst sort. If you want to know Cranmer's views on the Sacraments (as most Anglicans or scholars of the Reformation do) please read him in his own words in "A Defense of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ" (if you can find a copy in the library) or in "Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar."

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