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Cranmer, Thomas

(1489–1556). B. Aslacton, Nottinghamshire, Eng. Educ. Cambridge. In 1529 came to the attention of Henry VIII by suggesting that the question of annulment of the royal marriage be referred to the canonists and universities. Sent on an embassy to Charles* V 1531. At Nürnberg he became acquainted with A. Osiander* the Elder, whose niece Margaret he married 1532. Abp. Canterbury 1533. Annulled marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; this was a preliminary step to the 1534 Act of Supremacy, which dissolved the obedience of Eng. to the pope. Cranmer supported Erastianism.* Opposed the Six Articles of 1539 (see Anglican Confessions, 3). Changed his views on the Lord's Supper from belief in the Real Presence to belief in the spiritual eating and drinking, similar to beliefs held by H. Zwingli,* J. Calvin,* and M. Bucer.* (See also Calvinism; Grace, Means of, IV 3). Promoted reading of the Scriptures; the 1540 Bible (see Bible Versions, L 5) is known as “Cranmer's Bible” because of his preface. “Cranmer's Catechism,” entitled A Short Instruction into Christian Religion, is a tr. of J. Jonas's* Lat. Brandenburg-Nürnberg catechism, which was a tr. of Ger. sermons (mostly by A. Osiander the Elder) for children. He helped draw up the Forty-two Articles (see Anglican Confessions, 5). His greatest contribution was the first Book* of Common Prayer. His 4 sermons in the 1547 Homilies were on salvation, faith, good works, and Bible reading. When Mary* I came to the throne 1553 he was condemned for treason but pardoned by the queen, only to be condemned for heresy 1555; deposed as abp. February 14, 1556; signed a series of recantations, but finally retracted them all; burned at the stake March 21.

Writings and Disputations of Thomas Cranmer, ed. J. E. Cox (Cambridge, 1844); Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, ed. J. E. Cox (Cambridge, 1846); Cranmer's Selected Writings, ed. C. S. Meyer (London, 1961); G. W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop and Martyr (London, 1956) and Thomas Cranmer, Theologian (New York, 1956); A. F. Pollard, Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation, 1489–1556, new ed. (New York, 1926); J. G. Ridley, Thomas Cranmer (London, 1962). CSM

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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