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March 21, 2009

A Cambridge degree. An Oxford education.

More Celtic and Brit quirk. For all you godless, dancing and (according to National Geographic yesterday) flesh-eating druids out there in America and western Europe, March 21 is the traditional date of the vernal equinox (this year it fell yesterday, the 20th). Spring and re-birth begins. Time to do the Antler Dance, hit Stonehenge, make oaths, worship Oak trees, fight naked, eat, that kind of thing. But it's also the date on which Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Cambridge-educated scholar, clergyman and Reformation leader, was burned at the stake at Oxford in 1556 after Catholic Queen Mary came to power.

Reviews on Cranmer, part-politician and part-preacher, are mixed. On the 21st, and after already being sentenced to death, he "withdrew" previous "recantations" of his anti-papal positions that might have saved his life. He was a devout Anglican, after all. He had wavered, except on that final day. Forget about doctrine, and Europe's holy wars, silly and sad in retrospect. Not the point. In the end, Cranmer had serious sand.

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Posted by JD Hull at March 21, 2009 10:11 PM

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