In The Cambridge Connection, Susan Wabuda’s essay, “‘We walk as pilgrims’: Agnes Cheke and Cambridge, c. 1500–1549” is about the career of Agnes Cheke as a prosperous vitner. She was one of the few pillars of the emerging evangelical establishment in Cambridge in the sixteenth century. Her financial success in selling wine allowed her to advance the career of her son, the famous humanist scholar Sir John Cheke, and her son-in-law William Cecil, the future Lord Burghley, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I. Agnes Cheke died in 1549, much lamented in a sermon by the famous preacher Hugh Latimer, and her resting place is in the University Church, Great Saint Mary’s, where she was a parishioner.
Susan Wabuda’s previous books include Thomas Cranmer in the Routledge Historical Biographies Series (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), and Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge: University Press, 2002, 2008).
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This week sees the publication of Professor Susan Wabuda‘s new study of the life and career of the archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). Professor Wabuda was interviewed by the book’s publisher Routledge and you can read that interview on their website. We took the opportunity to ask Professor Wabuda some questions of our own about how the new book relates to her earlier research and the ways that it intersects with her teaching and other projects at Fordham.
The 2o11 conference was held to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous King James Bible (first published in 1611), but Wabuda’s essay entitled “‘A Day after Doomsday’: Cranmer and the Bible Translations of 1530s” discussed earlier trends in Bible translation in England. The King James version relied upon these earlier translations, especially because of the work of the great translator William Tyndale (d. 1536). Wabuda reports that one goal of the essay was to understand the problems of making a good Bible translation in English, but she also hopes that it helps to illuminate another issue: that the Bible was originally intended as a teaching tool. Although modern readers might think of a a Bible rendered into English as an opportunity for personal reading and study, this was not the intention of the translators. In fact, King Henry VIII and archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer both believed in withholding the Bible from the people if they would not behave: “Scripture was one of the great treasures of the church, but because it was so sacred (like the sacrament of the altar) it would be withheld from people depending on the circumstances.”
The Roland H. Bainton prize is given in memory of the great Reformation historian who taught at Yale University. Susan Wabuda laments never having met Bainton, who she identifies as one of the first scholars to seriously explore the role of women in the Reformation.
Congratulations once more to Dr. Wabuda and the team behind this great volume!
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