One of my favourite examples of what people could do with printed books during the Reformation is John Knox’s account of his dispute with a Catholic Abbot. In 1562 Knox, as commissioner of the General Assmbly, undertook a three-month inspection of churches in the south-west of Scotland. It was on this occasion that he engaged in a public disputation with Quintin Kennedy, abbot of Crossraguel. Kennedy (c.1520-1564), like Patrick Hamilton, was a younger son of the aristocracy whose connections gained him his abbacy and who was interested in reforming the church. However unlike Hamilton, he remained a loyal Catholic, and wrote several works advocating Catholic theology.
Most of what we know about this debate comes from Knox’s published account of it – and hence is filtered through his attempt to use the printed word to control both his own image and that of his opponent. One might, in fact, call this an example of Reformation ’spin’. Continue reading Reformation ‘Reasoning’