LIII3v, 1 Peter
The Text of the New Testament of Iesus Christ. With a Confutation by William Fulke. London: Deputies of Christopher Barker, 1589.
Folio. 524 leaves (, 496 leaves,  pages), 10¾ x 7½ inches. Roman and italic in various sizes. The Rheims New Testament (1582) and the Bishops version (1568) in parallel columns, with Rheims annotations and Fulkes confutations. Bound in 18th-century brown calfskin, repaired with gilt border; spine gilt, 2 dark red morocco labels. § DMH 202; STC (2nd ed.) 2888. § CD-ROM: 10.5, title page; 10.5, fol. H6r.
In this volume, the Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament (1582) and the Church of Englands Bishops Bible (1568) are printed in parallel columns along with the arguments, marginal notes, and annotations of the Rheims New Testament, and William Fulkes refutations of them. Fulke was fiercely anti-Catholic and authored a number of books in defense of Protestantism. Partial refutations of the Rheims New Testament had previously appeared, including one by Fulke and one by Thomas Bilson, one of the two editors of the 1611 King James Bible and the one who perhaps was responsible for the chapter titles in that Bible.
The decreasing number of Roman Catholics in the English speaking world in those days alarmed the hierarchy. Furthermore, Catholics possessed no English Bible approved by their Church; yet they were surrounded by people who read the several English translations circulating at that time. By contrast, in Germany Catholics made the Bible available in translation within five years of Luthers Protestant translation. The Roman Church, therefore, needed to produce an English translation with notes to help English-speaking Roman Catholics. The Rheims New Testament and later the Douai Old Testament (160910) were the results of this effort [10.3 & 10.4]. The appearance of the Rheims version aroused considerable hostility in Elizabeths England. Copies were seized and confiscated, and overall the sales and distribution were meager, although the New Testament fared better than the Old. Fulkes attack on the Rheims backfired on him, for instead of turning people away from that version, it gave publicity and circulation to it which it had not had up to that time. Ironically, Fulke probably did more to make this version known than did the Catholics whom he was refuting.
This work was not Fulkes first involvement in controversy. While at St. Johns College, Cambridge, he and his friend Thomas Cartwright (15351603) took a prominent part against requiring clerical dress in what was known as the Vestiarian Controversy. By his sermons and personal influence Fulke "beat into the heads of the younger sort such a persuasion of the superstition of the surplice ... that the dispute led to scenes of violence, barely stopping short of bloodshed" (DNB 7:745). The controversy spread to other colleges so that the entire university was in an uproar. As the ringleader, he was expelled and deprived of his fellowship, though he was later readmitted. Fulke spent the last decade of his life actively and aggressively defending Protestantism, no year passing without the appearance of one or more books containing virulent invectives against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
In his dedication to Queen Elizabeth I, Fulke addresses her as the one to whom the Savior has given grace in order "to leade the people of God with you out of Babylon," and to punish Antichrist (by whom he means the Pope). Many of Fulkes refutations are much longer than the Rheims annotation which he debates. But they show his wide range of learning throughout, especially his familiarity with the church fathers and councils. He was described by his contemporaries as "a pious and learned man, well skilled in history and languages, a very diligent student, industrious both in writing and printing..." (DNB 7:747).
Significant passages from Fulkes refutations of Rheims include his denial of the note on Matthew 2:11 relating the wise mens adoration of the infant Christ to adoration of the Sacrament on the altar with the priest present. Elsewhere six folio pages of small type are required for the discussion of Matthew 16:18 ("Thou are Peter and upon this rocke"). Acts 1:14 contains a long note from the Rheims concerning the position of Mary as mother of God, Queen, and Virgin forever, and an even longer refutation by Fulke. On Romans 3:28 ("by faith without workes") the Rheims declares that the passage does not exclude "the Sacraments of Baptisme and Penance," while Fulke acknowledges that "the sacraments have their place, as seales of justification." As expected, considerable discussion appears over Pauls rehearsal of the Lords Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:20 ff. At one point Fulke calls Catholic claims concerning transubstantiation "nothing but impudent slanders." On 1 Timothy 2:5 ("one mediator") the Rheims note denies that saints or Mary are mediators, but affirms that "we have neede of a Mediator to Christ the Mediator, and there is none more for our profite than our Ladie [Mary]." On 1 Peter 5:13 and Revelation 17:4 Fulke calls Rome the "See of Antichrist" while identifying Rome in those verses as Babylon on the Euphrates and doubting that Peter was ever in Rome and certainly not as the first pope.
This book uses thirteen different fonts in the main body of the work, excluding the preliminary material in which additional typefaces appear. Clearly laid out, the center column headings indicate whether the material discussed is from the argument of a book, the marginal notes, or the annotations. Each note is set off by the number of the verse it relates to, and in the left margins the notes are numbered in each chapter and labeled as either from "Rhem." or "Fulke."
Fulkes refutation was reprinted twice in 1601 and in separate editions, in 1617, and 1633, all after his death. In addition, his university friend, Thomas Cartwright, prepared a similar refutation which was not published until 1618. His edition printed only the Rheims text through Matthew; from then onperhaps to avoid giving publicity to the Rheims version as Fulke had donehe printed only the Rheims notes and his rebuttals.
Literature: Dictionary of National Biography 7:74547.