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The Christian Hermeneutics of Cranmer’s Homilies

Briggs, Richard S.

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Richard S. Briggs


This article explores some of the hermeneutical resources of the two official books of homilies, authorized to be preached in the BCP communion service. The historical contexts and successive editions of the books are explained, and a focused reading is offered of the key texts relevant to the interpretation of Scripture. Some consideration is given to other related texts that highlight Cranmer’s hermeneutical approach. It is suggested that Cranmer’s use of Scripture is not in practice the approach he commends in the first homily, but is driven by concerns with attaining the ‘right’ doctrine of justification. A key issue is the interplay between readerly character, deferral to wise readers, and the pressure of the text against particular traditions. It is argued that the Books of Homilies here offer rich material for reflection upon the nature of Christian hermeneutics in one particular ecclesial tradition, and indicate an Anglican approach to Scripture that has much to offer.


Briggs, R. S. (2017). The Christian Hermeneutics of Cranmer’s Homilies. Journal of Anglican Studies, 15(02), 167-187.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 31, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2017
Publication Date Jun 28, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 19, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 19, 2017
Journal Journal of Anglican Studies
Print ISSN 1740-3553
Electronic ISSN 1745-5278
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 02
Pages 167-187


Accepted Journal Article (466 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of Anglican studies This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © copyright holder.

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