John Hooper got around, both geographically, intellectually, and spiritually. In 1535, he was a Cistercian monk, facing the dissolution of his monastery. Twenty years later he was burned at the stake by the Catholic monarch of England for being a Protestant heretic–a death that was, even by the standards of burning at the stake, unusually gruesome. But the time of his death Hooper had been a convert to Protestantism, an intellectual refugee in Switzerland, married, and Bishop of Gloucester.
The curious life of John Hooper is a fitting introduction to the history of Puritanism, the “warmer sort of Protestants” as a contemporary Englishman termed them. My guest Michel Winship is an eminent historian of Protestantism and Puritanism in early modern Europe, the E. Merton Coulter Professor of History at the University of Georgia. In his new book Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America, he offers us a history of puritanism that covers both sides of the Atlantic. It is compellingly written for a wide audience, but sure also to provoke specialists.