JOHN FOXE – FOXE’S BOOK OF MARTYRS – Various editions.
One of the most important books to come out of the Christian Protestant Reformation, and for many, the most important work of religious study beside the Bible itself. Foxe gives a somewhat embittered and partisan study of the history of Christian Martyrs, those who suffered and died, often horribly, for their faith at the hands of those who would not only not believe themselves, but who wished to deny their victims the right to believe and practice their Christianity. The book is a collection of horror stories about the persecutions of many a Christian Martyr-saint. It runs in chronological order from the atrocities perpetrated by Nero and other Roman emperors to the horrors of what Christians were prepared to do to fellow Christians regarded as heretics. The motive for the book really kicks in when Foxe reaches the reign of Henry The Eighth, and shows the Catholics beginning their long persecution of their Protestant opponents, and reaches its peak in the atrocities committed by Mary Queen Of Scots. Foxe died in 1587, but the book continued to be written, as savage Protestant propaganda as much as a dictionary of man’s inhumanity to man, Other authors take up the story from there for later editions which take the story through the Civil War atrocities perpetrated against Protestants in Ireland in 1641, trial of John Bunyan (Author of The Pilgrim’s Progress) and persecutions that went on well into the 18th Century, but it is Foxe’s own compilation work that stands out. His depiction of the tragedy of Lady Jane, the Queen of England who reigned for just five days before Mary crushed her, is deeply moving. However, Foxe (and subsequent editors, additional text authors, alike) never touches on Protestant counter-atrocities committed against Catholics and other opponents. The whole text is very one sided in its propaganda stance. It is a sensational, but disturbing read, and one which is likely to put modern readers off religion rather than filling anyone with a desire to embrace the faith, - any faith. http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html
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