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Professor Richard Rex

Professor Richard Rex

Professor of Reformation History

Polkinghorne Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies at Queens' College, Cambridge

Deputy Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Cambridge

Richard Rex is accepting applications for PhD students.


Office Phone: 01223 763002

Biography:

Although not a frequent performer in the travelling circus of modern academia, he nevertheless makes occasional guest appearances at the Academia Moriae, Amaurote, as well as at universities and schools closer to home.

In September 2019, Professor Rex delivered the Wadsworth Lecture at the School of Religious Studies at McGill, under the title 'The Reformation in England and France: Tales of the Unexpected'.

In October he gave a lecture to the History sixth-formers at the Charter School North Dulwich on 'The Henrician and Edwardian Reformations: Continuity or Contradiction?'. 

For his scintillating reflections on the history and historiography of the English Reformation, see his 2017 online article in Marginalia, 'Disenchanting the English Reformation'.

 

Subject area and speciality

History of Christianity specialists:
  • The interaction between religion, politics, and ideas in early modern England and Europe. 
  • The political, social, and intellectual aspects of English religious history from the late 14th to the early 17th century (including John Wycliffe, Lollardy, early Protestantism, and the English Reformation and its aftermath)
  • The Reformation era in Europe, most especially relating to the interaction of 'humanism' with theology and religion
  • French or Italian religious history from the late 15th to the early 17th century

Research Interests

Richard Rex's research interests focus on the interaction between religion, politics, and ideas in early modern England and Europe. His main current project is an edition of two letters exchanged between Martin Luther and Henry VIII in the mid-1520s, together with a number of related texts published in connection with them. This edition will have a substantial introduction investigating the intriguing 'long-distance relationship' between those two men in the early sixteenth century.

 

Research Supervision

Professor Rex is interested in supervising magisterial or doctoral projects on the political, social, and intellectual aspects of English religious history from the late 14th to the early 17th century (including John Wycliffe, Lollardy, early Protestantism, and the English Reformation and its aftermath); and many aspects of the Reformation era in Europe, most especially relating to the interaction of 'humanism' with theology and religion. He would be prepared to supervise studies of French or Italian religious history from the late 15th to the early 17th century.

Teaching

Professor Rex's main contribution to the Faculty's academic programme is on the MPhil Pathway in Anglican Studies:

https://www.divinity.cam.ac.uk/study-here/mphil/AnglicanStudies

 

 

Keywords

  • Early Modern History

Key Publications

Professor Rex's most recent publication is a ground-breaking new account of the emergence of the theology of Martin Luther:

 

The Making of Martin Luther has just been issued in a paperback edition (Nov 2019). To mark this republication, he gave an interview on the book to the online review Edinburgh49.

 

Richard Rex’s popular survey of the Tudors was reissued in 2014 as Tudors: the Illustrated History (Amberley). 

His other books include the elegant thematic survey Henry VIII and the English Reformation (2nd edn. Palgrave, 2006) and the controversial The Lollards (Palgrave, 2002).

The Lollards (Palgrave, 2002) aimed a controversial arrow at the hot air balloon of Lollard studies. It was greeted with mixed reviews, the more hostile from those flying the balloon. As David Aers trenchantly put it: “For an extended attempt to explicate the unimportance of Wycliffites (except in the addled minds of literary historians and Protestant ideologues in need of origins), see Richard Rex, The Lollards (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002).” See David Aers, Sanctifying Signs, (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004), p. 233, note 21.) The author has thus far seen no reason to revise the main outlines of this interpretation.

Over the years Richard Rex has translated a number of scholarly books from French, including Yves-Marie Bercé’s The Birth of Absolutism: A History of France 1598-1661 (Palgrave, 1995) and Lucien Musset’s The Bayeux Tapestry (Boydell, 2005). And in 2012 he translated Catholicism and Democracy (Princeton University Press), by Emile Perreau-Saussine (1972-2010).

For as a full a list of his publications as can easily be put together, see his profile on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

Other Publications

Among his more recent academic articles are the following:

  • ‘A Newly Discovered Poem by Erasmus’, co-authored with David Butterfield, Humanistica Lovaniensia: Journal of Neo-Latin Studies 65 (2016), pp. 165-78

  • ‘Humanist Bible Controversies’, in The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Volume 3, From 1450 to 1750 , ed. Euan Cameron (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 61-81 

  • ‘Councils, Counsel, and Consensus in Henry VIII’s Reformation’, in The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707, ed. Jacqueline Rose (London: British Academy, 2016), pp. 135-50

  • ‘Luther among the Humanists’, in Martin Luther: a Christian between Reforms and Modernity, 1517-2017 (New York: Boston, 2017), pp. 203-220

Coming soon
  • ‘Ascham & Co.: St John’s College, Cambridge, in the 1540s’, in Roger Ascham and his Sixteenth-Century World, ed. L. Nicholas & C. Law (Leiden: E. J. Brill)

Moodle

Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.