This book explores the hitherto neglected relationship between the English Reformation and the Lutheran scholar Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560).
It looks at how Henry, following his break with Rome, flirted with Lutheranism as a doctrine to replace Catholicism, before the eventual collapse of the policy and its replacement with a more moderate reform programme under Cranmer.
It then goes on to investigate how Melanchthon, as the leading proponent of Lutheranism influenced successive royal governments, both positively and negatively, as they struggled to impose their own brand of doctrinal conformity on the English church. By refracting the well known narrative of the English Reformation through the lens of Melanchthon, new light is shed on many events that have puzzled historians.
The study provides fascinating new perspectives on such questions as why Henry suddenly abandoned his Lutheran policy, why Cromwell fell from power in 1540 and even insights into Elizabeth's personal beliefs.
By tying events in England into the context of the wider European Reformation, through the work of Philip Melanchthon, this book offers fresh insights into the nature and development of early evangelical Protestantism.