‘Doctissimus pater pastorum’: Laurence Humphrey and Reformed Humanist Education in Mid-Tudor England
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Laurence Humphrey was acknowledged in his own day as a leading Protestant intellectual, Oxford pedagogue, and Latinist. In posterity however, he has been predominantly defined by his involvement in the ‘vestiarian controversy’ of the 1560s. This thesis proposes a revised view, which takes into account the significant educational contexts and concerns with which Humphrey was engaged before, during and after his Marian exile in Zurich and Basel. The thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapter One presents the fruits of new biographical research into Humphrey’s education and early adult life, his grounding in Protestant ideology, and the circumstances of his exile up until 1559. Relocated amongst the Rhineland’s finest scholar-printers, Humphrey immerses himself in the dual currents of European humanism and religion, a context that characterizes his earliest works. Chapter Two argues that Humphrey’s 1559 Interpretatio Linguarum evidences an international network of reformed scholars using Graeco-Latin translation theory to inform the development of vernacular literary culture. In discussing contemporary writers and their translations, Humphrey’s Latin work reveals itself as an intellectually central text of English vernacular culture. Chapter Three analyses the 1560 Optimates as an exposition of the pedagogical concept of the vir bonus, which Humphrey refashions for a new Elizabethan generation of English Protestant gentry. Chapter Four reprises the biographical narrative by following Humphrey’s return to the educational environment of early Elizabethan Oxford. The period from 1560 to the mid-1570s sees the consolidation of Humphrey’s reputation as one of the leading reformist educators of his generation. Chapter Five looks at the 1573 Vita Iuelli. Referencing a range of literary traditions, Humphrey presents Bishop John Jewel as the fulfilment of the ideals of reformed humanist education. This thesis re-introduces Humphrey as an important figure in the merged intellectual, multi-lingual, reforming currents of humanism and religion that characterize the mid-Tudor moment.
AuthorsMerchant, Eleanor Kathleen
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