The Books of Homilies: A Critical Edition

By Gerald Bray (editor)

A new edition of the three Books of Homilies, collections of model sermons produced by the Church of England during the reigns of Edward VI and Queen Mary.

ISBN: 9780227175446


The two Books of Homilies, along with the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal, have been basic documents of the Church of England, and are valuable in showing Anglican doctrine during the Reformation, as well as being of considerable historical importance.

The first book, published in 1547, early in the reign of Edward VI, was partly though not entirely the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and the inspiration appears to have been his. This was intended to raise the standards of preaching by offering model sermons covering particular doctrinal and pastoral themes, either to be read (particularly by unlicensed clergy) or to provide preachers with additional material for their own sermons.

The success of the venture led Bishop Edmund Bonner, who had contributed to Cranmer’s book, to produce his own Book of Homilies in 1555, during the reign of Queen Mary. The Second Book of Homilies, published in 1563 (and in a revised form in 1571) appears in turn to have been influenced both by Cranmer’s and by Bonner’s books.

The present edition brings together all three books, edited and introduced by Revd Dr Gerald Bray.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 600

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About the Author

The Reverend Dr Gerald Bray (PhD, Paris-Sorbonne) was the Professor of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School, and is now a research professor there. He is also Director of Research at the Latimer Trust. Among his other work he is the editor of Documents of the English Reformation (James Clarke, 1994, second edition 2004).


Biblical and Other Ancient Names

The First Book of Homilies
Bishop Bonner’s Homilies
The Second Book of Homilies

Subject Index
Names Index
Scripture Index
Author Index


Endorsements and Reviews

The Homilies are of major significance for understanding Church of England doctrine and discipline at the Reformation. We are in Gerald Bray’s debt for this new critical edition for a modern readership, which at last moves us beyond the familiar Victorian reprints. It is a perfect combination of careful scholarship and accessibility, and essential reading for every serious student of Anglicanism.
Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

… offers a valuable insight not only into the relative doctrinal positions of those on both sides of the English Reformation divide, but also into the various social ills of the period.
Paul F. Bradshaw, in Worship, Vol 91, May 2017

Gerald Bray’s critical edition of the Book of Homilies is a welcome addition to the few modern texts available. Bray provides a concise and detailed discussion of the expected critical issues related to all three books of homilies.
Benjamin J. Snyder, in Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol 87, No 3

Gerald Bray has done the Anglican Communion – and those interested in the study of its history – an enormous service by producing a new, critical edition of these collections of thematic sermons.
Joshua Steele, in Theological Book Review, Vol 27, No 2