The Institution of a Christian Man

The Bishop's Book (1537), The King's Book (1543), Bishop Bonner's Book (1555)

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Gerald Bray
  • Cambridge, England: 
    James Clarke & Co.
    , September
     498 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Jason Pickard forthcoming.


Compiled during the early years of the Reformation, The Institution of a Christian Man lays out the principles of the nascent Church of England. In his definitive new edition, Gerald Bray charts the development of this text from the first version introduced by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and his cohort of bishops, to the extensive edits made by Henry VIII himself, and finally to the version written by Bishop Edmund Bonner under the radically different circumstances of Mary I's reign.

By combining the Bishops' Book and the King's Book into a single text – rather than in sequence – Bray shows which sections were added, deleted, and retained throughout the revisions. This process allows the reader to reconstruct the texts and, at the same time, follow the process by which one was transformed into the other. Bishop Bonner's Book, which appears separately, illustrates additional changes and elaborations from the previous two books. Such a comparative study in a user-friendly and accessible style has never been published before.

Although written nearly 500 years ago, much of what these books have to say is still valid and can be addressed to contemporary use. A thorough analysis of content also sheds light on a neglected phase of the Reformation, and provides a unique insight into the theological development that characterised the earliest stages of the Church of England.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Gerald Bray was Professor of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School, and is now a Research Professor for the same institution. He is also Director of Research at the Latimer Trust.

His other publications with James Clarke & Co Ltd include Documents of the English Reformation (1994; 2nd edition 2004) and The Books of Homilies: A Critical Edition (2016).


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