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  • John Jewel and the English National Church: The Dilemmas of an Erastian Reformer
  • Andreas Loewe
John Jewel and the English National Church: The Dilemmas of an Erastian Reformer. By Gary W. Jenkins. [St Andrews Studies in Reformation History.] (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company. 2006. Pp. viii, 293. $99.95; £55.)

In this monograph Gary Jenkins successfully balances John Jewel's public persona—thirty-sixth Bishop of Salisbury and a staunch defender of the Elizabethan settlement—with his privately held theological views. While much of Jewel's published work suggests a model conforming prelate,"fully in support of his prince, and archbishop's actions" (p. 186), his copious correspondence with his friend and theological mentor Peter Martyr Vermigli reveals the bishop's private longings for purer reformed teaching on the lines of Bullinger's Zurich. Indeed, at the peak of his ecclesiastical career after his election to the see of Salisbury, Jewel confided to Martyr:"O Zurich, Zurich, how much more often do I now think of you than ever I thought of England when I was in Zurich!" (p. 178). Jenkins presents a Janus figure, who "faced on the one side the life and duties of an English Protestant prelate; and on the other, that of a sheltered, pilgrim émigré" (p. 155).

John Jewel and the English National Church provides a much-needed new reflection on Jewel's life,as well as much welcome background information on the mid-Tudor reformations. At times Jenkins is too generous with his material: the short biographical summaries of key players, events, and places, give the work an encyclopaedic feel. Some excursions, such as Jenkins's investigation of the pre-Norman origins of Jewel's home church (pp. 6–7), the potted history [End Page 382] of Merton College (pp. 8–9), and his lengthy excursus on the pre-Reformation history of the diocese of Salisbury (pp. 203–08), would have been better placed among the copious footnotes.

As in all biographies of Jewel, much of the detail in this monograph is gleaned from Laurence Humphrey's Vita Iuelli (London, 1573), though Jenkins rightly acknowledges the adulatory and somewhat hagiographic nature of Humphrey's account (p. 226).Humphrey's account is balanced by Jewel's correspondence, published both in contemporary works and the comprehensive Parker Society edition (Cambridge, 1845–50),which furnishes further valuable insights into the second-generation reformer's life and thought.

The author offers a close reading of Jewel's written output, in particular his reaction, whether in disputation at home or in correspondence with friends and opponents abroad, to the Elizabethan settlement. From the time of his election to the episcopate in 1559 to his enthronement a year later, Jewel defended the settlement no less than seven times. Jenkins's careful analysis of some of the key works, among them Jewel's seminal Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae (London, 1562) and his rebuttals of Thomas Harding's sustained theological attacks, covers an enormous range of contested theological ideas. These not only include the royal supremacy itself but also address the usage of vestments, the veneration of images, the language of the liturgy, and the question of the real presence. As part of his investigation, Jenkins offers interesting insights into the dialectical methods employed by Jewel and his contemporaries. Many rejoinders are based on scoring points in rhetorical gamesmanship rather than genuine theological engagement as Jenkins makes clear: "Jewel's usual manner of answering arguments entails listing one authority after another; he seldom treated the assertions of his antagonists on either theological or dialectical grounds" (pp. 72–73).

In public, Jewel sought to hold the theological center ground, steering a careful course between traditional Catholicism and English Puritanism: his theological audience included both Protestants in Zurich and Catholics in France, and both groups, on the whole, commended Jewel's "moderation in tone" (p. 93). However, far more interesting than Jenkins' analysis of the bishop of Salisbury's public persona is the Jewel he reveals through the pages of his private correspondence. Here, Jenkins succeeds in adding some fine and detailed brushstrokes to the portrait of a man of many contradictions who, "having embraced Protestantism under Edward VI . . . recanted under Mary only...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 382-383
Launched on MUSE
2008-05-30
Open Access
No
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