418. Diarmaid MacCulloch on the British Reformations

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A leading expert on the history of the Reformation joins us to explain the very different stories of England and Scotland in the 16th century.



Further Reading

• D. MacCulloch, Suffolk and the Tudors: Politics and Religion in an English County 1500-1600 (Oxford: 1986).

• D. MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England 1547-1603 (New York: 1990).

• D. MacCulloch, The Reign of Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety (Basingstoke: 1995).

• D. MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer (New Haven: 1996).

• D. MacCulloch, Tudor Church Militant (London: 1999).

• D. MacCulloch, The Reformation (New York: 2004).

• D. MacCulloch, Thomas Cromwell: a Life (London: 2018).

• D. MacCulloch and F. Anthony, Tudor Rebellions (London: 2020).


Ian Fleming on 10 April 2023

English Reformation

Thank you for an enlightening and erudite analysis!

Tony Kinder on 20 April 2023

MacCulloch (2004)

Amazingly profound interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch + reference to his 2004 book.  Everywhere we turn in social theory determinism is the enemy; MacCulloch and the series on the Reformation illustrate that the 16thC debate were perhaps more mature than those we have now, a factor only reinforced by AI and machine-learning looking for patterns and "logics" instead of complexities and dialectics.  For me the Reformation series has been the best, totally reinforcing the view that seemingly theological discourse reveals deep philosophical disputes.  Many thanks for all the work and thought you put into the podcasts!  Tony

In reply to by Tony Kinder

Peter Adamson on 20 April 2023


Thanks! Glad you have been enjoying it; it has been very eye-opening for me too, especially to see how many of the developments we associate with the 17th century and/or the Enlightenment were already present, tacitly or explicitly, in the 16th century.

Bernese on 3 June 2024

lefotver bread and wine

Professor MacCulloch mentions the fact, the presiding minister can take home leftover bread and wine as a proof that the Anglicans followed the Reformed rather than the Lutheran approach to the Eucharist. But I’m not sure if this is such good an example: As far as I know (someone correct me if I’m wrong) in the Lutheran view, bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ only during the mass (while simultaneously also staying bread and wine), while after the mass the body and blood leave – so to speak – the leftovers, which turn back to be only bread and wine. Anyways, this show was (like much on HoPwag) interesting. Before listening to these episode I thought that the Anglicans with their middle-of-the-road approach would certainly follow the Lutheran view of the Eucharist, so it was quite interesting to learn that they don’t. 

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