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Bohemia in English Religious Controversy before the Henrician Reformation

Bohemia in English Religious Controversy before the Henrician Reformation

By Michael Van Dussen

The Bohemian Reformation and Religious Practice, vol. 7: Papers from the Seventh International Symposium on the Bohemian Reformation and Religious Practice, Vila Lanna, Prague, Czech Republic, 21-23 June 2006, edited by Zdeněk V. David and David R. Holeton (Prague, 2009)

Introduction: In the period between the Council of Constance (1414-18) and the Henrician Reformation (1530-38), religious controversialists in England referred to the Bohemian Revolution with striking regularity, suggesting a sustained interest in the situation there. This was a serious matter for the English, arousing the attention of such men as Thomas Netter, Reginald Pecock and Thomas Gascoigne in the fifteenth century, and Thomas More, Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII in the sixteenth.

At the beginning of this period, not long after the Council of Constance, Thomas Netter emphasized the role that Wyclif’s teachings had played in promoting heresy and revolution in Bohemia. Later in the fifteenth century controversialists complicated the matter, claiming a variety of social ailments (e.g., clerical absenteeism and the individualized interpretation of Scripture) as the primary causes of the Bohemian troubles.

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