By the time of his death at the stake in 1540, Robert Barnes was recognized as one of the most influential evangelical reformers in Henrician England. Friend and foe alike judged him the most popular and persuasive preacher of the 'new learning'. He enjoyed the patronage of King, Archbishop, and Vicegerent at home, and the praise of evangelical princes and theologians abroad. He wrote what would be the closest the Henrician reformers came to a systematic theology, as well as the first Protestant history of the papacy. Then his dramatic, and not entirely explicable, execution quickly ensured his lasting place in the century's popular propaganda.
In this first extensive examination of Robert Barnes and his reformation significance the author provides a comprehensive survey of the reformer's stormy career, a clear and convincing analysis of his often misconstrued theology, and a persuasive argument that the influence of Barnes and his novel polemical programme extended not only into the century following his death, but was as prominent on the continent as it was in his native England.
KOREY MAAS is Associate Professor of Church History, Concordia University, Irvine, California