Life and Writings of John Frith (1503-1533): The Development of His Concept of Religious Toleration in the Early English Reformation

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John Frith, one of the first generation of English reformers, was burned as a heretic during the reign of Henry VIII because he denied the Roman dogmas of purgatory and transubstantiation. Frith was unusual for his day because he argued that these two dogmas should not be considered articles of the faith. In so doing, Frith developed a theology of Toleration and essential beliefs (doctrinal adiaphora). This study seeks to trace the origin of Frith’s adiaphorism and to understand it as developed in his works against purgatory and transubstantiation.


“Professor Hard makes the observation that in the final year of Frith’s life, a year spent in the Tower of London, he wrote as much as he had in all his previous years combined. Hard’s discussion of these prison epistles and treatises, as well as his other writings, reveal a singularly mature and thoughtful theologian, who practiced ideology with an uncanny and unique clarity. . . . Thankfully due to the labors of Dr. Hard, we can hear [Frith] clearly and distinctly.. Not since John Foxe has John Frith been in better hands.” – Prof. Stephen J. Nichols, Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Foreword by Stephen J. Nichols
The Background of Adiaphoristic Thought
The Life and Writings of John Frith
John Frith’s Disputation of Purgatory
John Frith’s Answer to More

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