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Edmund Bunny (1540-1619)
Oxford: Printed for John Barnes, and are to be sold neere Holborne, 1613
Second edition
HQ813 B86 1613

This controversial treatise objected to the judgments of the reformed church that a man could lawfully divorce (“put away”) his wife for adultery, and marry another. Historically the position of the Roman Catholic Church had been that former spouses could not remarry during each other’s lifetimes. The Elizabethan and Stuart divines who advocated full divorce in cases where adultery was at issue believed a marriage contracted after a decree of separation should be validated.

Edmund Bunny voiced his opposition to the then-established permission of the Roman Catholic Church for remarriage. Of the controversy, he said that the practice of divorce and remarriage was not unusual and used an unnamed but apparently important family of the time who had done just that.

The three-page appendix contains the final words in a long-running controversy between Bunny and Robert Parsons (1546-1610), an English Jesuit priest. Parsons, author of The Christian Directorie, was incensed when Edmund Bunny published an expurgated or, by Roman Catholic thinking, pirated, Protestant edition in 1584. Parsons launched a vitriolic attack on the Protestant edition and its author, Bunny, denouncing what he called “this shameless shift of corrupting other men’s books.” An argument in print ensued, lasting through a 1589 revised version of Parson’s work by Bunny, a response by Parsons in 1607, an answer by Bunny in June 1610 in the appendix to the first edition of this book.

Bunny got the last word. Parsons died in April of the same year. Edmund Bunny’s father, Richard Bunny (fl. 1584) served Henry VIII and Edward VI and, as a Protestant, suffered under Queen Mary. Edmund was disinherited by his father when he announced his intention to enter the Roman Catholic Church.