According to Wikipedia, “John Foxe, an English historian and martyrologist, was the author of Acts and Monuments, telling of Christian martyrs throughout Western history, but particularly the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the 14th century and in the reign of Mary I.” According to Got Questions, “John Foxe (also spelled Fox, 1516—1587) was an English Puritan preacher and church historian. As a youth, Foxe’s brilliance was recognized, and at Oxford University he earned a master’s degree and a fellowship (similar to a modern scholarship) at Magdalen College. His first literary endeavors were in poetry and Latin comedies. Foxe began researching church history to help him better understand the controversies regarding the Catholic Church and the Reformation. Foxe studied the Scriptures as well as the writings of the early church fathers.” According to Britannica, “John Foxe, (born 1516, Boston, Lincolnshire, Eng.—died April 18, 1587, Cripplegate, London), English Puritan preacher and author of The Book of Martyrs, a graphic and polemic account of those who suffered for the cause of Protestantism. Widely read, often the most valued book beside the Bible in the households of English Puritans, it helped shape popular opinion about Roman Catholicism for at least a century.”

Foxe’s greatest work, his book Acts and Monuments (popularly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs), is a work of Protestant history and martyrology. It was first published in the year 1563. According to Wikipedia, “After his death, Foxe’s Acts and Monuments continued to be published and appreciatively read. John Burrow refers to it as, after the Bible, ‘the greatest single influence on English Protestant thinking of the late Tudor and early Stuart period.'” According to Digital Commons, “We assert that Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was published for these purposes: personal reasons, a tribute to Queen Elizabeth, and to gain support for the Protestant faith and belief.” This book was probably one of the most influential books of its time. According to Wikipedia, Acts and Monuments “includes a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland. The book was highly influential in those countries and helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism there. The book went through four editions in Foxe’s lifetime and a number of later editions and abridgements, including some that specifically reduced the text to a Book of Martyrs.” According to Christian Today, “The works of church historians rarely influence history itself, but John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments of Matters Happening to the Church—commonly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs—is the exception that proves the rule.”

Is the language of Foxe still compelling today? The language of Foxe spoke to a lot of its readers. He also put several memorable images into his book. The language that Foxe used to speak to his readers was very compelling to the sixteenth and seventeenth century people, but due to the type of society and world that we live in today, it might not be as compelling as it was three hundred years ago. So, I think that the language of Foxe can be compelling to some people, but not all people.