Long considered a highly distinctive English writer, Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) has not been treated as the significant historian he was. Fuller's The Church-History of Britain (1655) was the first comprehensive history of Christianity from antiquity to the upheavals of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and the tumultuous events of the English civil wars. His numerous publications outside the genre of history-sermons, meditations, pamphlets on current
thought and events-reflected and helped to shape public opinion during the revolutionary era in which he lived. Thomas Fuller: Discovering England's Religious Past highlights the fact that Fuller was a major contributor to the flowering of historical writing in early modern England. W. B. Patterson
provides both a biography of Thomas Fuller's life and career in the midst of the most wrenching changes his country had ever experienced and a critical account of the origins, growth, and achievements of a new kind of history in England, a process to which he made a significant and original contribution.
The volume begins with a substantial introduction dealing with memory, uses of the past, and the new history of England in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Fuller was moved by the changes in Church and state that came during the civil wars that led to the trial and execution of King Charles I and to the Interregnum that followed. He sought to revive the memory of the English past, recalling the successes and failures of both distant and recent events. The book illuminates
Fuller's focus on history as a means of understanding the present as well as the past, and on religion and its important place in English culture and society.
W. B. Patterson, Professor of History (Emeritus) at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, has written widely on British and European history and religion. His publications include King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom (Cambridge University Press, 1997), which won the Albert C. Outler Prize in ecumenical church history from the American Society of Church History. He is an active member of the Ecclesiastical History Society of Great Britain and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.