Fires of faith by Eamon Duffy

Fires of faith by Eamon Duffy – Catholic England under Mary Tudor is definitely an interesting book to read. It is written by a catholic and presents the history from this point of view. Of course Mary’s reign is presented as bloody from a protestant point of view, despite under Elizabeth’s reign a lot more people were executed and there was catholic persecution. I saw an impressive array of priest holes built up in stately homes, from her reign, including one at Speke Hall, 30 minutes or so from my home.

He mentions quite a few times that we shouldn’t judge with modern day sensibilities. Of course he is right. What seems appalling to us today it was perfectly fine a few hundred years ago. Who knows, maybe the things we do now (for example with the climate) will seem appalling to the peoples of 2500.

Fires of Faith by Eamon Duffy

One thing that bugged me was that he doesn’t mention that Cardinal Pole’s motives to have such a strong stance on the legacy of Henry VIII might be down to his own personal feelings as well as ideological. Henry executed both his mother and brother. At the same time, Duffy mentions this as a possibility for Mary and her execution of Thomas Cranmer, despite him recanting the Protestant faith more than once. While we can only speculate, it’s not far fetched that personal feelings would influence Pole’s judgment as much as Mary’s.

I gave the book only 4 stars because I felt he gave too many quotes and that affected the flow of reading. But, even so, the book was very interesting and I would recommend it. There are plenty of details about preaching, printing, and executions to create a holistic view of the period.

Fires of faith by Eamon Duffy

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Yale University Press
Year it was published: 2009
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 249

About the author: Eamon Duffy is Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge.
He is a Catholic and specializes in 15th to 17th century religious history of Britain. He presented the BBC Radio 4 series “10 Popes Who Shook the World” – those popes featured were Peter, Leo I, Gregory I, Gregory VII, Innocent III, Paul III, Pius IX, Pius XII, John XXIII, and John Paul II.
Website & Social Media Links: –

2 thoughts on “Fires of faith by Eamon Duffy”

  • It sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I think we always have to read history with the idea that we might not understand things culturally from that time period. Even ideas and actions considered acceptable as recently as 50-100 years ago can feel wrong from our current perspective.

    • You are right. Even less than 50 years ago. In the 70s there were TV ads with messages like: “If she can do it, everybody can.” Even ads from the 90s now would be a PR nightmare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.