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The Doubled Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Doubled Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (PB)
By Diane Reynolds
From Icons to Idols, by David J. Davis

From Icons to Idols

Documents on the Image Debate in Reformation England

By David J. Davis


A selection of key historical texts setting out the debate over religious imagery during the English Reformation, introduced and with a commentary by a leading scholar in the field.

Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback (eBook edition available soon)
Print Paperback New Title 22.50
ISBN: 9780227176290
Specifications: 229x153mm, 222pp, b&w illustrations
Publication: January 2017

About this Book

In 1547, the young King Edward VI issued a series of religious injunctions intending to reform the Churches in England. Religious imagery was a tangible and permanent aspect of the landscape, both inside and outside the Churches. For many people, it was one of the first aspects of the Church to be reformed, and the degree to which it was reformed often was indicative of an individual's or community's theological leanings. Behind this destruction lay a longstanding debate over the nature, purpose, and appropriate uses of images, particularly in relation to worship and devotion. The Reformation lines between icon and idol, however, are much more difficult to identify than any single debate, event, or royal injunction would suggest.

From Icons to Idols tracks the image debate from the perspectives of both Protestants and Catholics across the period of religious change in England from 1525 to 1625. For scholars of the English Reformation, iconoclasm has played a major role in the historiographical disputes over the nature, length, and efficacy of Protestant reform. The fresh perspective of David J. Davis incorporates geography, historical use and abuse, popular appeal, size, dimensions and what was represented.


List of Illustrations

General Introduction

Part 1: The Early Reformation
Part 2: The Elizabethan Reformation
Part 3: The Post-Reformation

General Index

   Full List of Contents » (PDF, 62 KB)


   General Introduction » (PDF, 103 KB)
   Document 2: William Tyndale, An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue » (PDF, 100 KB)
   Document 12: John Jewel, Homily Against the Peril of Idolatry and Superfluous Decking of Churches » (PDF, 91 KB)

About the Author

David J. Davis is Director of the Master of Liberal Arts and Assistant Professor in History at Houston Baptist University. He is author of Seeing Faith, Printing Pictures: Religious Identity during the English Reformation.

Reviews and Comments

"David J. Davis's admirable collection of documents illuminates the complexities of the debate about images provoked by the Reformation in sixteenth-century England. Bringing together Protestant and Catholic voices and combining critical texts with compelling pictures, it challenges the tired paradigms that have inhibited our understanding of the nexus between religion and the visual arts in the early modern period. It will be an excellent resource for scholars and students alike."
Alexandra Walsham, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge

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