Foxe, John (1516-1587)

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John Foxe (Fox) (1516-87): an English Protestant scholar, who was compelled to flee from England because of his faith, and after a brief stay in Antwerp, Frankfurt, and Strasbourg settled in Basel, Switzerland. Later he returned to England and died there in 1587, having lived a very active life. While he lived in Norwich he may have had contacts with the Anabaptist circles there. He interceded with Queen Elizabeth of England for the lives of the Anabaptists (Barclay, 25).

Fox's great Book of Martyrs, which became the model of all later martyrologies and was immensely popular with the English masses, appeared in English (Latin edition at Basel in 1559) first in 1563, then in 1570, 1576, 1583, etc., under the title Actes and Monuments of the Latter and Perillous Dayes, Touching Matters of the Church . . . from the year one thousand. . . . A good modern edition is that edited by W. B. Forbush, Fox's Book of Martyrs(Chicago, 1926). A German edition appeared at Philadelphia in 1831 under the title, Allgemeine Geschichte des Christlichen Marterthums . . . . It includes a lengthy section (pp. 748-934 out of a total of 971 pp.) on the "History and Doctrine of the Mennonites" (pp. 748-85), and one on "Persecutions of the Mennonites" (785-934). The latter is taken from the Martyrs' Mirror, but neither its editor, nor the author of the historical section is identified. It was almost certainly I. D. Rupp of Lancaster, Pa., who translated several Mennonite books into English, including the Martyrs' Mirror (Lancaster, 1837), the Works of Menno Simons (Elkhart, 1871), the Wandering Soul (Carlisle, 1833), and Menno Simons' Foundation (Lancaster, 1835). The title page of the 1837 English Martyrs' Mirror names Rupp as the author of Der Maertyrer Geschichte, which is no doubt an abbreviated title for the Fox book. Rupp used the writings of Deknatel and Abraham Hunsinger, in addition to the Martyrs ' Mirror, on the historical sections, which actually constitute the first treatment of the history and doctrines of the Mennonites published in America. The only original contribution is the material (not very extensive) on the American Mennonites, which has been completely overlooked.


Barclay, R. The Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth. London, 1877:25.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1899): 113.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon I: 665-67.

Foxe, John. Book of Martyrs, ed. W.B. Forbush (Christian Classics Ethereal Library version)

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1953

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Bender, Harold S. "Foxe, John (1516-1587)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Apr 2021.,_John_(1516-1587)&oldid=121063.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1953). Foxe, John (1516-1587). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 April 2021, from,_John_(1516-1587)&oldid=121063.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 358-359. All rights reserved.

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