Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Foxe's Book of Martyrs


John Foxe


Comparative Religion

Document Type




Foxe's Book of Martyrs is one of the most influential and well-known books in history, as well as one of the top-sellers of the past, right up there with the Bible itself. Immensely popular in Foxe's own sixteenth century, its influence has been felt throughout literature. Copies of the original text (Acts and Monuments) were chained beside the Bible in churches of England, and even sailed with English pirates.

This was not a book designed to comfort, but instead to present the truth of the persecution faced by Protestant Christians in hostile environments. The inscription from the 1563 edition--now commonly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs--indicates the gravity of the task: "[In] latter and perilous days . . . the great persecutions and horrible troubles . . . [are here] gathered and collected according to true copies and writings . . . of the parties themselves that suffered." Foxe was committed to commemorating the ultimate sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the sake of their faith.

Paul L. Maier brings his exceptional mind for history to bear on Foxe's work in this new edition. While abridgement of the original 2,100 pages was necessary, Maier does include every martyr, and text was changed only where modern readers may not readily understand the original archaic wording.

John Foxe (1516-1587) was an academic and zealous student of the Scriptures, leading to his persecution as a Protestant by the Catholic rulers of his day. Beyond his work in pastoral ministry, Foxe continued to work on his martyrology until his death.



Publication Date



Kregel Publications


History of Religion

Citation for published book

Overton, Harvey. Being Here : New and Selected Poems / by Harvey Overton. First ed. 2003. Print.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs