The Elizabeth Homilies

The Elizabeth Homilies “are authorized sermons issued in two books for use in the Church of England during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. They were to provide for the Church a new model of simplified topical preaching as well as a theological understanding of the Reformation that had taken place in England. Thomas Cranmer broached the idea of a Book of Homilies in 1539, but it was not authorized by the Church’s Convocation until 1542. Within a year the twelve homilies of the first book were collected and edited by Cranmer, who also wrote at least five of them. They were not published, however, until 1547. The first six homilies present distinctive Protestant theology, namely the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, the radical sinfulness of man, justification by faith alone (entitled “Of the Salvation of All Mankind”), evangelical faith, and sanctification. The Homilies were revoked under Queen Mary but reinstated by Elizabeth.

In 1562-63, the second book was published, though it did not contain the full twenty-one homilies until 1571. Bishop John Jewel wrote all but two of these. They are more practical and devotional than the first book. The two books were issued in one volume in 1632.”

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