The Study of History and Theology
Thomas Fuller, born in 1608 in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, was the son of Thomas Fuller, the minister of St. Peter’s Church in Aldwincle. His mother Margaret’s brother was John Davenant, the president of Queens’ College, Cambridge, who became bishop of Salisbury shortly after Fuller entered Cambridge. The curriculum there emphasized Latin and Greek literature, partly as a result of the residence and teaching of Erasmus, the eminent Renaissance scholar, in the early sixteenth century. Fuller contended, in an essay published in 1642, that the “general Artist,” or university graduate in the arts, completed his academic endeavors with the study of history, enabling him to understand a broad range of human experience. Fuller studied theology under Samuel Ward, the master of Sidney Sussex College, a close friend of Bishop Davenant. His education prepared him well for his calling as a church historian.
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