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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the role of printing propaganda in the progress of religious controversy during the era of Sir Thomas More and his leading antagonist, William Tyndale. Advancing competing religious agendas, printed polemics ranged from broadsheets to pamphlets — their ephemerality reflected in the fact that they frequently remained unbound — to more substantial tracts, manuals, commentaries, and treatises. Written largely in the vernacular, polemics of this kind represented the chief means of engaging in doctrinal debate during different phases of the English Reformation. Even more, they articulated significant issues concerning the nature and importance of printing at a time when monarchical government attempted to control public discourse; concerning competition between unauthorized expression and official control of beliefs; concerning interrelationships among different levels of the literacy hierarchy; concerning Bible translation and translation theory; and concerning the fundamentally dialogic nature of tracts based upon pro and contra argumentation.

Keywords: propaganda printing, printed polemics, religious debate, English Reformation

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