Mike Aquilina

A Surprising Patrologist

Wednesday March 18th 2009, 8:10 am

The biography of Meg More that came out in the U.K. last year is now shipping from the U.S. So I’m re-running my little notice. This is a lovely book for fathers of daughters. It’s a lovely book for lovers of the Church Fathers, devotees of Thomas More, and folks who are fascinated by the history of the Reformation era.

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I just finished reading John Guy’s A Daughter’s Love: Thomas and Margaret More. It’s a sketch of the relationship between the sainted Lord Chancellor and his firstborn child, his “dearest Meg.”

I was first drawn to the book because I, like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, have five daughters — and what father doesn’t see hints of his young daughters’ great virtue in Meg’s character in A Man for All Seasons?

I did not know, however, that Meg was quite a patrologist. Like her father and the Mores’ friend Erasmus, she was a great reader of Eusebius, Cyprian, Jerome, and Augustine. She even corrected mistakes in Erasmus’s scholarship on the Fathers. John Guy thinks she should have been the obvious candidate to translate the Bible into English — except that it never would have occurred to anyone to ask a woman. Meg’s daughter Mary would one day translate Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History out of the Greek.

I do recommend A Daughter’s Love: Thomas and Margaret More, and not just for dads with lovely daughters, but for everyone. It’s not a devotional book, or even a “Catholic” book (I got no hint that Guy was a co-religionist of mine). It’s a book for all folks, all seasons.