Essay on the life and manners of the venerable Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, by Philip Perry

Cunningham, J. (2022) Essay on the life and manners of the venerable Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, by Philip Perry. Catholic Record Society, London. ISBN 9780902832343

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The great medieval scholar and bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste (c. 1168-1253) was the very epitome of the polymath. A scientist, philosopher, translator, theologian and poet; his learning, imagination and his vast wisdom are little short of awe-inspiring. He was also bishop of the largest diocese in England and in this role he came into conflict with the papacy. In particular, he strongly opposed the policy of giving English benefices to absentee Italians, an opposition he was not afraid to voice in the strongest possible terms. For this reason he was much vaunted in later centuries by Church reformers. John Wyclif admired him greatly and by the time we get to the English Reformation writers such as John Foxe were keen to claim Grosseteste as a type of proto-Protestant. In the eighteenth century Fr Philip Perry, the Rector of St Alban’s English seminary in Valladolid, decided to challenge this image by writing a biography of Grosseteste that would restore his reputation as a solid Roman Catholic. However, Perry’s timing could not have been less auspicious. In 1760s English Catholics were close to achieving emancipation, the Vicar Apostolic, Richard Challoner suppressed the polemical text and to this day it remained until now in handwritten manuscript form. Cunningham has produced a critical edition of this work which offers us a fascinating glimpse into both the life of one of England’s greatest ecclesiastics and also into the precarious politics of the eighteenth-century English Catholic Church.

Item Type: Book
Depositing User: Dr Jack Cunningham
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 10:38
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 10:04

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