The European and English Contexts
During the Renaissance and Reformation historical writing underwent dramatic changes in Europe and England. The recovery of many of the texts of classical antiquity that began in Italy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries became a focus for university scholars and literary circles. The German scholar Martin Luther, who protested against papal indulgences in 1517, provided the foundation for a radically different approach to the scriptures and to the study of the past. A school of historians led by Matthias Flacius Illyricus produced a series of volumes that showed that the Church had changed significantly over time in its teaching and practices. In England the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries sought to avoid legends, distortions, and ideological assumptions and find a new approach to the investigation of the past. William Camden, a member of the society, helped to provide a new kind of history, one that significantly influenced Fuller.
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