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Bruce Bradley SJ
Not for the first time, Studies is publishing the proceedings of a recent conference, in this case ‘Reformation 500’, to mark the quincentenary of Martin Luther’s famous (if historically dubious) gesture in Wittenberg in 1517. Canon Adrian Empey, one of the organisers of the conference and a member of the Studies board, introduces the issue and explains the background in the preface which follows.
As editor, I want to acknowledge here the indispensable contribution Adrian himself has made to this issue. The collaboration between Studies and the conference was his idea in the first place and, thereafter, he has acted as the courteous and highly effective liaison between the speakers and the journal, without whom this issue would not have seen the light of day. Our gratitude is due to the speakers for their cooperation. We are particularly grateful to the two bodies which organised such an illuminating and enjoyable conference, the Church of Ireland Historical Society, of which Adrian is himself honorary secretary, and the conference secretary of the Catholic Historical Society of Ireland, Professor Marian Lyons of Maynooth University, for so readily agreeing to the project of publishing the papers here.
Those familiar with Irish Reformation studies will be very aware of the seminal contribution made to the field by the distinguished Irish Tudor historian, Dr Brendan Bradshaw SM. After graduating from University College Dublin in the 1960s, he went on scholarship to Cambridge and studied there under Professor Geoffrey Elton, quickly establishing himself as a historian of great accomplishment. He was to spend the rest of his working life in Cambridge and recently retired as a Life Fellow of Queens’ College. Something of the quality and significance of the work he has produced over the years is made clear in the essay, ‘After Bradshaw: the debate on the Tudor Reformation in Ireland’, by Dr James Murray, in a volume launched at the ‘Reformation 500’ conference, to which Adrian Empey alludes in his preface. (A review will appear in Studies in due course). Some idea of the nature of his contribution to his own specialism as well as to the question of revisionism in Irish historical studies also appears in Dr Brian MacCuarta’s valuable review of Brendan’s most recent book, ‘And so began the Irish nation’: nationality, national consciousness and nationalism in pre-modern Ireland, which accompanies the conference papers in this issue.
For reasons of health, Dr Bradshaw was unfortunately unable to attend or contribute to the conference himself. It is, therefore, a special pleasure, as well as a privilege, to dedicate the present issue of Studies to this outstanding, unassuming scholar, now living in retirement – a Marist among Jesuits! – in Milltown Park, Dublin.
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