AVILLIAM WHITAKER, D.D.,
REGIUS PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY, AND MASTER OF ST JOHN S COLLEGE,
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
PREFACE by the Editor ........ ix
Epistle Dedicatory to Lord Burghley 3
Preface to the Controversies . . . . . . .14
Question the First of the First Controversy : Of the number of the
Canonical Books of Scripture , . . . . .25
Question the Second : Of the Authentic Edition and Versions of the
Scriptures ......... 110
Question the Third: Of the Authority of Scripture . . .275
Question the Fourth : Of the Perspicuity of Scripture . . 359
Question the Fifth : Of the Interpretation of Scripture . . 402
Question the Sixth : Of the Perfection of Scripture, against Unwrit
ten Traditions 496
To the Reader 705
IT seemed desirable that this, the great work of one of
the greatest of our early divines upon the cardinal point of
difference between the churches of the Roman and the reformed
communions, should be comprised in the collection of the Parker
Society ; not only on account of its intrinsic merits, but also for
its historical value ; as exhibiting the posture of defence assumed
by our schools against that change of tactics in the management
of this great controversy, which is to be dated from the insti
tution of the Society of Jesus.
William Whitaker (or Whitacre) was born at Holme, in Lan
cashire, A.D. 1547, of a good family, nearly related, to Alexander
Nowel, the celebrated dean of St Paul s. He was bred at Cam
bridge, where he soon distinguished himself, and was in 1579
appointed the Queen s Professor of Divinity. In 1586, through
the influence of Burghley and Whitgift, and in spite of obstinate
and powerful opposition, he was made Master of St John s Col
lege in that University ; soon after which appointment he took
his degree of Doctor in Divinity. His delay in assuming the
doctorate seems curious, and it was maliciously made the ground
of a most unjust imputation of puritanism. How small was his
sympathy with the disciplinarian party, appears from the manner
in which he speaks of their great leader, Cartwright, in a letter
preserved by Bancroft 1 : " Quern Cartwrightus nuper emisit libel-
lum, ejus magnam partem perlegi. Ne vivam, si quid unquam
viderim dissolutius ac pene puerilius. Verborum satis ille quidem
lautam ac novam supellectilem habet, rerum omnino nullam,
quantum ego quidem judicare possum. Deinde rion modo per
verse de Principis in Rebus Sacris atque Ecclesiasticis auctoritate
relegisse, et mandasse typis universas : id enim auditoribus erat in
votis vel maxime ; quorum cum summa admiratione et acclamatione
singulas tractarat controversias. Ceterum studio respondendi Bel-
larmino in omnibus controversiis religionis provectus, optimum
censuit has elucubratas disputationes apud se reponere ; ratus (quod
postea non evenit) aptius fore tempus eas per otium evulgandi.
Sed Deo immortali, cnjus consilia sunt abyssus inscrutabilis, aliter
The following is the list of his works :
1. Responsio ad decera rationes Edm. Campiani. 8vo. Lond.
2. Responsionis ad decem rationes Edm. Campiani Defensio.
8vo. Lond. 1583.
3. Refutatio Nic. Sanderi, quod Papa non sit Antichristus.
8vo. Lond. 1583.
4. Answer to W. Rainold s Reprehensions, &c. 8vo. Camb.
5. Disputatio de Sacra Scriptura contra hujus temporis Pa-
pistas. 4to. Cantab. 1588.
6. Pro authoritate atque auroTrta-ria S. Scripture Duplicatio
contra T. Stapletonum. Libri 3. Cantab. 1594.
7. Pra3lectiones de Ecclesia, &c., edited after his death by
J. Allenson. 4to. Cantab. 1599.
8. Pr^lectiones de Conciliis. 8vo. Cantab. 1600.
9. Concio in 1 Thess. v. 12. 4to. Cantab. 1599.
10. In Controversial! de R. Pontifice, distributam in qua?s-
tiones viii., adversus Pontificios, imprimis R. Bellarminum, praelec-
tiones. 8vo. Hanov. 1608.
11. De Sacramentis. Francof. 1624. 4to.
A complete collection of his works in Latin was printed in two
vols. folio, at Geneva, 1610.
Besides the above, Whitaker published in 1569 a Greek trans
lation of the Common Prayer; in 1573, of Nowel s larger, and in
1575, of the smaller Catechism.
[Title-page of the original work, 1610.]
D I SP VT ATIO
DE SACRA SCRIPTVRA;
CONTRA HVIVS TEMPORIS
PAPIST AS, INPRIMIS,
ROBERTVM BELLARMINVM IESVITAM,
Pontificium in Collegio Romano, & THOMAM
STAPLETONVM, Regium in Schola Dua-
Qucestionilus proposita fy tractata a GVILIELMO WHITAKERO Theologioe
Doctore ac Profeffbre Regio, fy Collegij D. loannis in Canta-
Irigiensi Academia Magistro.
BASILIVS in Epistola ad Eustathium medicum.
11 Oeoirvevo-Tos tj^v StaiTrja-ctTW ypatyri K a\ Trap of? av evpeOfj TCI Soy^a-rct
o-ui/wBa roTs BetoK Xo yoi?, eir\ roi/Vots ijgei TroWws Try? aA^0C(O9 ij
TO THE MOST NOBLE AND PRUDENT,
WILLIAM CECIL, KNIGHT,
BARON BURGHLEY, HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND, AND
CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
THERE have been many heretofore, illustrious Cecil, who
have defended the papal interest and sovereignty with the utmost
exertion, the keenest zeal, and no mean or vulgar erudition. But
they who have played their part with most address, and far out
stripped almost all others of their own side, are those men who
now, for some years back, have been engaged most earnestly in