Contents of this article
John Foxe's The Acts and Monuments Online (TAMO) provides a searchable and comparative framework for studying all four editions of the Acts and Monuments produced under Foxe's guidance during the reign of Elizabeth I. The Acts and Monuments were published in 1563, 1570, 1576 and 1583 as an ecclesiastical history and martyrology. They are most often remembered as a memorial to the martyrs who died during the short reign of Mary I, but they also present a fully revised history of Britain and Europe according to early Protestant views of their past. Through Foxe, therefore, we can glimpse both a moment in English historiography and the protestant arguments to support their fragile church. With well over 2,000 pages per edition Foxe and the others who helped to contribute to the text pictured the past through the eyes of prophecy, seeking to position the papacy as Antichrist and those who had traditionally been perceived as heretics as the remainder of the true faithful.
Each text is fully searchable with a full range of supplementary material: textual commentaries, glossaries of persons and places, Latin/Greek translations, thematic divisions, textual variations, abbreviations, and commentaries on the woodcut images. There is also an extensive bibliography and a large body of essays presenting research about Foxe and early modern religion.
The text was rekeyed manually. At least two copies of each edition were used in the transcription and checking of the text. Minor variants between one copy and another of the same edition are noted in dialogue boxes attached to the relevant variants. A list of the copies in which the variants have been located can be found on the site's About TAMO pages [http://www.johnfoxe.org/index.php?realm=info&type=about&gototype=modern&static=works]
Strengths and weaknesses
Having been manually transcribed to a high standard, TAMO provides an extremely reliable digital edition of the text. Moreover, unlike the nineteenth-century published editions that scholars have traditionally relied upon, TAMO offers for comparison all four editions of Foxe's Acts and Monuments. There are varied differences between all four texts which can now be studied and understood more clearly. It is, however, impossible to reflect on every aspect of the breadth and detail of Foxe in this edition and in many ways it is only a starting point for further research. Although the accompanying critical apparatus is extensive the commentary on glosses and nineteenth-century references are only available for books 10–12 of each edition. There is also some variance in the depth of textual commentary in each section. The critical apparatus is the result of a collaborative approach to Foxe with various scholars contributing to the task. It therefore represents a varied view of Foxe which acts as both a strength and a weakness.
About the project
The project to publish Foxe's Acts and Monuments lasted 20 years (1992–2011), beginning at the University of Bangor and ending at the University of Sheffield, and the evolving landscape of digital resources over these years forced periodic changes in the project's technical methods. It began with the idea for a new printed edition to replace the discredited nineteenth-century editions but soon moved towards publication on CD-ROM. Although a facsimile edition was published in 2001 of the 1583 edition, by that point the project team had moved towards online publication and in 2004 the first edition of the online Foxe project was made available to the public. This edition did not contain a complete searchable transcript of all four editions and had only partial critical apparatus to accompany the texts. In 2011 the final edition of TAMO was published containing the full texts with critical apparatus.