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Thomas Bilson and Anti-Catholicism at Paul’s Cross

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Chapter Summary

By the 1580s, anti-Catholicism had diminished in scale as a specific focus in Paul's Cross sermons, yet it still featured as an occasional topic, and a frequent aside, in the common combination of doctrine, exhortation, and confutation. The printed text rather than the pulpit had by the 1580s become the primary medium by which to wage inter-religious warfare. Verbal battles at Paul's Cross were being fought between supporters of the Elizabethan Episcopal establishment and puritans, many of them advocates of a Presbyterian form of church government. Thomas Bilson, often borrowed polemical techniques from antipopery sermons and literature to use in arguments against their puritan opponents. He was involved in the Rheims New Testament controversy. This was sparked by the appearance in 1582 of the Catholic translation of the New Testament by Gregory Martin of St.John's College, Oxford then licentiate in theology at the English College at Rheims, France.

Keywords: anti-Catholicism; France; Gregory Martin; New Testament; Paul's Cross sermons; Rheims; Thomas Bilson



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