Rex, Richard 1961–
Rex, Richard 1961–
Born January 27, 1961, in Ipswich, England; son of Peter (a schoolmaster and historian) and Christina Rex; married; wife's name Bettina (a librarian); children: six sons. Education: Trinity College, Cambridge University, 1983, B.A., Ph.D., 1988. Politics: "Thoughtful." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Music, cricket.
Her Majesty's Treasury, London, England, administrative trainee, 1983-85; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, St. John's College, research fellow, 1988-92, University Library, assistant under-librarian, 1992-95, Faculty of Divinity, lecturer, 1995-2002, senior lecturer, 2002-06, reader, 2006—, chair of Faculty of Divinity, 2006—, fellow of Queens' College, 1995—, director of studies in history, 2000—.
Entrance scholar, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1980; senior scholar, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1982; Alexander Prize, Royal Historical Society, 1985; Thirlwall Prize, Cambridge University, 1988.
(Editor) A Reformation Rhetoric: Thomas Swynnerton's "The Tropes and Figures of Scripture," RTM Publications (Cambridge, England), 1999.
The Lollards, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2002.
The Tudors, Tempus (Stroud, Gloucestershire, England), 2002.
(With Patrick Collinson and Graham Stanton) Lady Margaret Beaufort and Her Professors of Divinity at Cambridge, 1502-1649, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Richard Rex is the director of history studies at Queens' College, Cambridge, whose books focus on the English Reformation. Rex's The Tudors takes the casual reader on a tour of one of history's most famous families, beginning with Henry Tudor, who claimed the English throne and became Henry VII in 1485. His sons included Henry VIII, and Henry VIII's daughters included Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Tudor era is notable for its cultural tumult as the Catholic nation converted to Protestantism. The story is familiar to most students of Western history, and critics noted that such a book must present a new perspective to engage the reader. On this count, the author was successful wrote David Loades in the English Historical Review. "Rex is at his best … where he is drawing on his own research, and producing unfamiliar anecdotes from odd corners of his archival work," Loades said, concluding that "these stories can take even the professional reader by surprise, and are the most pleasing features of the book." "Rex comments perceptively on both personality … and policy," wrote Gilbert Taylor in a Booklist review, noting especially the author's comments regarding the female Tudor rulers.
Rex narrows his focus in Henry VIII and the English Reformation, which takes a less chronological view in favor of a more essay-like approach to exploring the religious details of the Reformation. The Lutheran versus the Augustinian aspects of the Ten Articles of 1536 and their relationship to the Confession of Augsburg is one topic, along with the influence (or lack thereof) of England's clerics. The result is "a thoughtful, closely argued, and nicely judged analysis," wrote C.S.L. Davies in the English Historical Review.
Rex's book devoted to Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth I, Fortune's Bastard: A Short Account of the Long Life of Elizabeth I, joins a bookshelf crowded with biographies of the Virgin Queen. But Rex's is a "polished account," wrote Ian W. Archer in History Today, that explores the complicated interplay between politics, religion, and foreign affairs, and discusses the queen's deft, advantageous manipulation of her own image.
In The Lollards, Rex provides the history of Lollardy, a religious movement that began in the 1350s and ended during the English Reformation. It was headed by John Wyclif, an Oxford theologian, who sought reform of the Roman Catholic Church. Rex provides a picture of the English church at the time the Lollards became active and discusses the group's views on theology and politics. Rex's conclusion is that the movement was never a serious threat to the established order and that its views were too radical to be accepted by a significant percentage of the population. This lack of influence thus contributed to its downfall during the Reformation. Critics enjoyed the book, especially Rex's new thinking on the topic, but some reviewers disagreed with his conclusions. "By saying that the study of heresy can only inform us about heretics' own (insignificant) numbers, Rex negates the worth of his own work," wrote Ian Forrest in the English Historical Review. But others appreciated the explanation of Lollardy, its causes, and its effects. In Albion, Caroline Litzenberger wrote that "Rex has done an effective job of weaving together primary research with current scholarship to present a reliable survey of this quintessential English heresy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2004, Caroline Litzenberger, review of The Lollards, p. 630.
Booklist, August, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Tudors, p. 1893.
Catholic Historical Review, October, 1992, W.S. Stafford, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 650; January, 2005, Maureen Jurkowski, review of The Lollards, p. 154; October, 2005, Elisabeth Leedham-Green, review of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Her Professors of Divinity at Cambridge, 1502-1649, p. 810.
Choice, July-August, 1993, D.R. Bisson, review of Henry VIII and the English Reformation, p. 1827; March, 2003, C.L. Hamilton, review of The Lollards, p. 1250; February, 2005, D.R. Bisson, review of The Tudors, p. 1087.
Church History, June, 1994, Richard M. Spielmann, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 272; March, 1996, Cecile Zinberg, review of Henry VIII and the English Reformation, p. 89.
English Historical Review, September, 1994, John Guy, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 1001; February, 1996, C.S.L. Davies, review of Henry VIII and the English Reformation, p. 167; April, 2003, Ian Forrest, review of The Lollards, p. 483; September, 2003, David Loades, review of The Tudors, p. 1055.
History Today, May, 2003, Ian W. Archer, preview of Elizabeth I, Fortune's Bastard: A Short Account of the Long Life of Elizabeth I, p. 70.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, October, 1992, Anthony Kenny, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 650; October, 2001, Alec Ryrie, review of A Reformation Rhetoric: Thomas Swynnerton's "The Tropes and Figures of Scripture," p. 745.
Journal of Theological Studies, April, 1993, James McConica, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 398.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 1993, review of Henry VIII and the English Reformation, p. 6.
Rhetorica, winter, 2002, Brian Vickers, review of A Reformation Rhetoric, p. 98.
Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 1992, Thomas Mayer, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 582; fall, 2001, Joseph Aieta III, review of A Reformation Rhetoric, p. 801.
Times Educational Supplement, December 13, 1991, review of The Theology of John Fisher, p. 24; December 5, 2003, Keith Gregson, review of The Tudors, p. 23.