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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The reign of Henry VIII represented a transitional phase in the religious history of England. Despite a brief flirtation with Protestantism in the 1530s, the regime never adopted a full-throated Reformation, and by the end of the reign English Christians were still required to accept nearly all the doctrines and customs that had prevailed in 1509. On the other hand, the break with Rome, the effective rejection of the doctrine of Purgatory, and the severe pruning of the cult of the saints represented a clear discontinuity with the past. Above all, the regime’s decision to legalize the English Bible for the first time in 130 years, and to require every parish church to obtain a copy, influenced the direction of English Christianity, and of English literature, for decades to come.

Keywords: King Henry VIII of England, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, Reformation, Protestantism, printing, censorship, the Bible in English

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