John Fox or Foxe (ca. 1516 – 18 April 1587) was an English Protestant best known for The Actes and Monuments, a work normally known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs . Foxe began work on this study on the history of martyrdom in 1552. The first Latin edition appeared in...
John Fox or Foxe (ca. 1516 – 18 April 1587) was an English Protestant best known for The Actes and Monuments, a work normally known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Foxe began work on this study on the history of martyrdom in 1552. The first Latin edition appeared in 1554 and then Foxe began to revise it to include the English Protestant martyrs under Queen Mary, publishing the updated Latin version in 1559. Returning from exile on the Continent after the ascension of Queen Elizabeth, Foxe published the first English version of his work in 1563 with the English publisher John Day.
Foxe was educated at Oxford, completing a bachelor's degree in 1537 and a master's degree in 1543. He converted to Protestantism and resigned from his Oxford position in 1545. When Edward VI ascended to the throne and Protestantism became legal, Foxe was ordained by Ridley, but was forced to flee England when Mary became queen.
Foxe was a Protestant with Calvinist leanings, agreeing with Knox on many elements of theology and church polity. He was opposed to the wearing of "Romish rags" in the vestments controversy, and generally took a "low" view of clerical offices, emphasizing that there should simply be ministers of the Gospel acting as preachers and arguing against the "high" notions of apostolical succession and clerical hierarchies.
Foxe is considered a Puritan, meaning that he emphasized predestination, the priesthood of all believers, and a strongly scriptural Christianity. He was strongly anti-Roman Catholic, and his martyrology emphasizes the abuses of power of the Roman Catholic Church, with explicit and gruesome descriptions of the tortures inflicted by the Roman hierarchy (including the Inquisition and Queen Mary) on those who challenged its power.