Book of Martyrs
January 24, 2007 8:11 PM   Subscribe

John Foxe's Book of Martyrs offers complete, searchable transcriptions of the 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583 editions of Foxe's Actes and Monuments... Readers can juxtapose two editions to see Foxe's alterations. The site includes images of the foldout woodcuts, along with the title pages. Other goodies include a raft of introductory essays and detailed commentaries on the illustrations to books 10-12. See also the Foxe Digital Library Project at Ohio State University, which includes woodcuts, images of selected pages, and an exhibition catalog. There are more woodcuts from the 1610 edition at Penn's Center for Electronic Text and Image and from the 1784 edition at Kansas State University.
posted by thomas j wise (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Great post. A little background: The Book of Martyrs is a hugely important book in the history of Protestantism, especially in England and America. To most readers it was a titillating tale of Catholic atrocities against Protestants through the ages. The Catholic church is portrayed as evil, corrupt, controlling and thirsty for Protestant blood. Excerpts were often reprinted and updated and served to whip up anti-Catholic hysteria. The Puritan intelligentsia all read various editions, and I find references to The Book of Martyrs as late as the mid-nineteenth century in the writings of Protestant missionaries. It is the template for all American anti-Catholicism.

The Wikipedia article is decent.
posted by LarryC at 8:55 PM on January 24, 2007

Thanks for this.

There are high resolution images available of the woodcuts from the 1559-1583 editions at the American Theological Library Association (actually, they have 2 Foxe sets).
posted by peacay at 9:00 PM on January 24, 2007

Great post, thank you. One of the type of FPPs that comes along once every few weeks, will get less than ten comments, but is easily my favorite type. Read Actes and Monuments and you start to get into some of the viseceral and alien quality of early modern religiosity (alien at least to me, although there are lots of other elements to sixteenth and seventeenth century thought that are familiar, even comforting).
posted by greycap at 11:43 PM on January 24, 2007

Going to a fundamentalist Christian (predominantly Southern Baptist) school growing up, I was taught about Foxe's Book of Martyr's in middle school history classes. (So it's still around.) It was a wee bit uncomfortable for little Catholic me.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 6:03 AM on January 25, 2007

Very interesting post. Thanks. This recent thread might be useful for getting through all of this material.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 6:34 AM on January 25, 2007

At first I thought this was talking about the Mennonite book of Martyrs, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's a very interesting book, I wonder if there are facsimiles available.
posted by parmanparman at 8:01 AM on January 25, 2007

The 'Mennonite' book of martyrs is the Martyrs' Mirror, or Martelaersspiegel. It was (and is) popular with many Anabaptist communities, including the Amish and various flavors of Mennonite. Bethel College has put many images online, which also created a traveling exhibit (including an online Martyr's story of the month).
posted by wfitzgerald at 9:53 AM on January 25, 2007

Also wanted to add my thanks for posting this. I'd forgotten all about it since the last time I read it was back in the 6th grade. It's funny how my religious school's library censored National Geographic magazines, yet had this book available in all its violent glory. I'll definitely check out the other book of martyrs.
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:16 AM on January 25, 2007

As someone who was brought up in a very secular environment in the UK, I hadn't even considered that this was still read in religious schools today. Really intriguing and puts yet another gloss on it.
posted by greycap at 1:05 PM on January 25, 2007

Awesome post, and I'm really glad to see that I'm not the only one out there that thinks so. Thanks for putting this up.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2007

« Older Mythbuster Compilation   |   T.V. Pirates! Arrrrr! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments