The famous historical compendium of Christians who sacrificed themselves for their faith over many centuries is presented here, complete.
At times uplifting, at times harrowing, but in its entirety compelling and worthwhile reading, Fox's Book of Martyrs is a work of supreme Christian devotion. It catalogs the rise to prominence, and deaths, of many Christian saints and martyrs who placed their faith above all else. Many were, under penalty of torture and death, told to give up their beliefs: by refusing, they proved themselves to be of the highest devotion.
When this book was published in 1563, the Christian church was in the throes of schism: the Reformation was proceeding at a fast pace, creating the first denominational forks in Christianity. The rise of Protestantism, and the attempts by the Catholic Church at preventing a split and consequent loss of authority, left a marked impression upon John Fox. His opinions of organized Christianity were never without criticism, and it was partly out of desire to remind all Christians of what true belief entails that he penned his masterwork.
Committed to the truth of his investigations, Fox includes the martyrs of the early Christians who were persecuted by the Romans, plus the Protestant Christians who found themselves victim to Catholic persecution. The ruthless politics of the era, such as King Henry VIII's purging of the monasteries of England, also receive chapters. Fox does not shy from detail; the most wonderful moments of each martyr's life, and the sometimes gruesome nature of their deaths, are told frankly.
Over the centuries, and given the great fame this book garnered, various additions were made to the text. For this edition, the publisher has striven to present the text of the original 16th century version together with the most acclaimed and accepted additions made up until the early 19th century. As such we gain knowledge of oppression suffered by the Quakers, and of other Christian groups and personages until the time of the Napoleonic Wars.