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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, October 01, 2004

A virus, and the Reformation

So, I've spent the day coming down with a pernicious bug of some sort. Swollen, sore throat; congestion and drainage; low grade fever that comes and goes... it hasn't left me totally nonfunctional, but enough at low ebb that I've been content to spend the day lounging in my jammies, and buried in my textbooks.

Most of this afternoon's reading has swirled around the English Reformation. I've plugged through a couple chapters of this, and some selected primary source documents from here (Act of Supremacy, Ten Articles of 1536, Six Articles of 1539...).

Then, I worked my way through The Examinations of Anne Askew. It's written in Anne's Middle English spelling, so it was a bit of a challenge to read until I got into the rhythm of the words. Once I did, though, I found I enjoyed it. Anne was a young woman who lived near the end of Henry VIII's reign, imprisoned several times and finally tortured and burned at the stake for adhering to reformers' teachings-- most notably, surrounding the doctrine of transubstantiation. This book is her record of the questioning to which she was subjected before her death, and her answers.

I got the feeling she was martyred as much for her refusal to be cowed by the powers-that-be, as for anything she may have said or believed. She was a feisty lady, this "poore wooman," and knew her scripture well-- better, at points, than did the ecclesial authorities.

God grant all of us such spirit, in the face of challenges to our faith.


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