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Title: John Frith, 1503-1533, and his relation to the origin of the Reformation in England
Author: Fulop, Robert Ernest
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1956
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The mismhthon of the English Reformation, John Frith, was born at Devon Oaks, Kent in 1303. His education was acquired at Eton and Cambridge where he distinguished himself as a learned scholar. When iolaoy was looking for promising young scholars to occupy the chairs at Cardinal College, Oxford, he chose Frith as one, little realising that Frith had already been converted by Tyadal, who he had net in 1522. Frith, along with other Cambridge men, organised an evangelical group similar to, but more definitely Protestant than, the White Horse Inn "theological society" at Cambridge. The Cambridge students infiltrated Protestant views and books so coalously that the authorities became alarmed and imprisoned Frith and the chief instigator. After the death of a few prisoners, Wolsey released Frith on promise that he would remain within ton silo of Oxford. But Frith fled to the Continent where he joined Tyndale. He helped Tyndale in his work and translated Luther's Revelation of Antichrist and Patrick's Places. Hia first original "wit'lag was'' a treatise cm rmrga^biy' wKicli refuted the writings on the subject by Sir Thomas Fora, John Pastel, end John Fisher. Although married and secure on the Continent, he ventured twice to return to his native country* During Lent of 1551 Ho landed in. England ostensibly for the purpose of giving first hand assistance to those working for reform. Chile seeking the Prior of Reading, Frith was orrooted as a vagabond. In des-" Poration ho called for the local schoolmaster and discoursed at length with his in Latin and Greek* The scholiaaster secured his release and Frith fled to Antwerp* Frith made Ma second end last return 'to England in 1532. His mission to strengthen the brethren In the faith was cut short by hie arrest end imprisonment in the Tower of London. There, in spite of severe limitations he wrote several treatises. Besides a treatise cm baptism mid a few minor work, he wrote a rejoinder to John Rests! whom he converted to Protestantism. His lengthy treatise on the doctrine of the Lord's Supper was written in reply to Thomas More who had attacked a short treatise by Frith. In this Frith successfully refuted Here's views. Although Cromwell and Cramer were reluctant to have Frith tried, the King was incited by one of his chaplains to demand his trial. Accordingly, Frith was examined at Croydon by Crasser who, failing to obtain Frith to recantation, sent him to Gtolsesley, Bishop of London. On June 20, 1533 ho was tried at St. Paul's and found guilty of holding Protestant views of purgatory and the Lord's Supper. However, he was condemned for refuslng to grant the doctrines of purgatory and traasubstantiation as articles of faith. He became the first and only martyr for the cause of toleration, and on July 4, 1533 ho was burned at the stake. The history and theology of the English Reformation boar the marks of Frith's influence* From 1333 to 1535, Frith's works were reprinted and eagerly read by the common people and their spiritual leaders Cranaer, who was influenced by Frith, had a major part in forming the theological formulae of the Church of England. The writers of the Thirty-Nine Articles rejected the doctrine of purgatory, which Frith was first to deny, and adopted Frith*s view of the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. A lasting tribute to Frith's influence remains in the Book of Common Prayer which contains his own words "And as concerning the natural body and blood of our Saviour Christ, they are in heaven and not here. For it is against the truth of Christ's true natural bod?, to bo in noro places t. in oris at one tine. Although only thirty yotrs old, John Frith left an indelible mark on the making of the English Reformation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available