Roger Ascham's Defence of the Lord's Supper

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It has been estimated that well over half of the books published during the European Reformation were in Latin, many of which have never been translated and have garnered little scholarly attention. Yet a good number of them have a direct bearing on the history of the Reformation and its actors. One such is Roger Ascham’s Apologia pro caena dominica contra missam & eius praestigias (’A defence of the Lord’s Supper against the Mass and its magic’). Written as a direct response to a series of religious debates held at Cambridge University at the start of Edward VI’s reign, it was published some thirty years later in the name of Roger Ascham. Exploring the influence of the Apologia, Lucy Nicholas’s book provides a detailed discussion of the work’s contexts, content and author. In so doing she brings to light new evidence for the vital role that Cambridge University played in the advancement of English religious reform, and underlines Ascham’s highly independent approach which is emblematic of the diversity within early Protestantism. For whilst never a best-seller - being retained in manuscript until its 1577 publication and without any second edition - a full assessment of the Apologia nevertheless provides important insights into several important Reformation contexts during the first year of Edward VI’s reign, and has much to offer anyone with an interest in the Reformation within early Tudor England. To complement this study, Lucy Nicholas has also published a modern Latin edition of the Apologia with facing page English translation ('A Translation of Roger Ascham's Apologia pro Caena Dominica (Defence of the Lord's Supper)').

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