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 story of the book:
Wabuda told us that toward the end of 2010, the British publisher Routledge approached her to write a new biography of Thomas Cranmer, the sixty-eighth archbishop of Canterbury, for the Routledge Historical Biographies series. A that point, she was already deep in a draft of another book, a new study of Cranmer‘s Cambridge colleague Hugh Latimer, but Routledge’s invitation made her realize that it was possible to let each project inform the other.
Thomas Cranmer is meant to be an engaging and highly readable account of the archbishop’s life. Although he is a familiar figure in Tudor history, in her research Wabuda was able to discover aspects of his career that now can
be known for the very first time. In particular, she was fascinated by the earliest expression of evangelical reforms at the University of Cambridge in the sixteenth century, which she was able to refer to briefly in Thomas Cranmer. The next book will explore in detail the leading role Latimer had in the Reformation in England.
Susan Wabuda (photographed by Susan Bolognino).
How the book relates to teaching and other projects at Fordham:
October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the release of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, one of the great watersheds in the history of the West. Wabuda looks forward to the graduate class she will teach this fall (2017) on Luther and the Reformation. This graduate class will doubtless be fascinating, but Wabuda also offers regular undergraduate classes on Tudor and Stuart England, the Renaissance, and the English Reformation.
It is exciting to lead class discussions on Henry VIII’s many marriages and the political and diplomatic problems that England and western Europe faced in the early modern period. Wonderful guest speakers come to my classes, most frequently Arthur L. Schwarz of New York’s Grolier Club, who speaks on rare books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A number of international scholars have delivered the St. Robert Southwell, S.J. Lecture at Fordham University, which I administer. Our speakers have included Susan Brigden (University of Oxford), Peter Marshall (University of Warwick), Andrew Pettegree (St Andrew’s), Miri Rubin (Queen Mary University of London), and Bill Sherman (the new director of the Warburg Institute in London).
Exciting indeed. Congratulations Professor Wabuda!
The History Department congratulates faculty member Susan Wabuda, who contributed the opening essay to a volume awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize (Reference Category) by the Sixteenth Century Society. The book, The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700 (Oxford University Press, 2015) was edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie, and resulted from an international conference held at the University of York (UK) in 2011.
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!
Left to right: Clare King’oo (University of Connecticut ) Susan Felch (Calvin College) Jamie H. Ferguson (University of Houston), and Susan Wabuda (Fordham)
Below, Professor Susan Wabuda discusses the Sixteenth Century Society Conference held in Bruges this summer, as well as her adventures in the historic Belgian city, in the latest installment of our Summer Postcards series. Read on to learn more about the city’s intellectual and aesthetic delights. Continue reading