The Institution of a Christian Man

By Gerald Bray (editor)

A new edition of one of the founding documents of the Church of England, allowing easy comparison of the changes between successive versions.

ISBN: 9780227176689


Compiled during the early years of the Reformation, The Institution of a Christian Man lays out the principles of the nascent Church of England. In his definitive new edition, Gerald Bray charts the development of this text from the first version introduced by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and his cohort of bishops, to the extensive edits made by Henry VIII himself, and finally to the version written by Bishop Edmund Bonner under the radically different circumstances of Mary I’s reign.

By combining the Bishops’ Book and the King’s Book into a single text – rather than in sequence – Bray shows which sections were added, deleted, and retained throughout the revisions. This process allows the reader to reconstruct the texts and, at the same time, follow the process by which one was transformed into the other. Bishop Bonner’s Book, which appears separately, illustrates additional changes and elaborations from the previous two books. Such a comparative study in a user-friendly and accessible style has never been published before.

Although written nearly 500 years ago, much of what these books have to say is still valid and can be addressed to contemporary use. A thorough analysis of content also sheds light on a neglected phase of the Reformation, and provides a unique insight into the theological development that characterised the earliest stages of the Church of England.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 498

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Reverend Dr Gerald Bray has a PhD from Paris-Sorbonne. He worked as Professor of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School, and is now a Research Professor for the same institution. He is also Director of Research at the Latimer Trust.

His other publications with James Clarke & Co Ltd include Documents of the English Reformation (1994; 2nd edition 2004) and The Books of Homilies: A Critical Edition (2016).



The Bishops’ Book (1537) and the King’s Book (1543) collated
Preface to the Bishops’ Book
Preface to the King’s Book
Faith (King’s Book only)
The Apostles’ Creed
The Seven Sacraments
The Ten Commandments
The Lord’s Prayer
The Ave Maria
The Article of Freewill
The Article of Justification
The Article of Good Works
Prayer for Souls Departed

Archbishop Cranmer’s Replies to Henry VIII’s Comments

Bishop Bonner’s Book (1555)
Declaration of Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
The Seven Sacraments
The Ten Commandments
The Lord’s Prayer
The Ave Maria
The Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Principal Virtues and the Eight Beatitudes
Three collects and orations for:
     the Pope
     the Lord Cardinal Pole
     the King and Queen
     the Safe Return of King Philip
     the Bishop of London

Prayer in Verse for the Return of King Philip
Concluding Salutations

Scripture Index
General Index


Endorsements and Reviews

The three official statements of faith produced under Henry VIII and Mary Tudor are at last given the full scholarly treatment they have long cried out for. Bray’s indispensable edition not only gives us the texts, but tracks the relationships between what are, in effect, three versions of a single book, as well as uncovering the hitherto inaccessible handwritten notes concerning the revisions made by Henry VIII and Archbishop Cranmer. Every historian of the English Reformation will want to keep this wonderfully easy-to-use edition within arm’s reach.
Alec Ryrie, Professor of the History of Christianity, Durham University

Gerald Bray has triumphed again! All students of the English Reformation will prize this critical edition of The Institution of a Christian Man and its later recensions, back in print for the first time since the 1930s. These important but neglected texts reveal the theological turmoil under Henry VIII and Mary Tudor, now in a user-friendly format that makes the complex doctrinal fluctuations easy to follow.
Dr Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

This is a valuable edition of three important works from the formative years of the English Reformation, which demonstrates how the regimes of Henry VIII and Mary I worked to formulate statements of doctrine for their respective churches. By presenting the three books as composite texts, Gerald Bray has not only demonstrated the close relationship between them but also the precise ways in which their doctrinal statements were contested and adapted between 1537 and 1555. It gives a vivid and useful insight into the fluctuations and definitions of religious belief and policy in this turbulent period, and will be an excellent resource for all those who study the English Reformation.
Dr Lucy Wooding, Langford Fellow and Tutor in History, Lincoln College, Oxford

Highly accessible … great value.
Harriet Lyon, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History

In producing this edition Bray has made these three key texts available to modern scholars. For this he deserves our thanks.
Charlotte Meuthuen, in Expository Times, Vol 131(2), November 2019