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Amy G. Tan

This chapter considers the religio-political situation of English-language Bible reference works c. 1550–1650. It focuses upon printed, single-volume publications whose scope included the entire Bible. These works were targeted to broad audiences and tailored to a wide range of interests that different readers might have had on varied occasions. Though there is recent scholarly interest in early modern information management and reading practices, there has been limited attention given to Bible reference works, especially those aimed at broad audiences. Because these publications sought to influence how broad audiences used their Bibles, they had the potential to affect the spread of post-Reformation religious belief. For this reason, they were of interest to church and state authorities, who in turn had a significant impact upon these works’ contents and production. This chapter demonstrates that the genre’s trajectory was towards increasing proliferation in number and style of publications, but that this was fostered or hedged – to varying degrees, and in varying ways – by the changing religio-political scene. By giving attention to this significant but often-overlooked genre, and to the circumstances surrounding its development and production, we gain a more complete understanding of practices surrounding print and the politics of religion in early modern England.

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world