Thomas More was born in 1478 and died in 1535. He was an English lawyer, philosopher, and author. After meeting Erasmus, More entered the humanist movement, which championed the equality of classes and castigated rulers who worked for selfish interests rather than the good of the people.
More's seminal work Utopia presents an ideal society where equality of work and wealth provides abundance for all. More promotes this spirit of democratic rule while attacking the evils of British society. The adversaries of his ideal are greed, poverty, violence, and self-service. More summarizes these as pride that will come between the human soul and its true destiny in both this life and the next. In 1529 Henry VIII appointed More Lord Chancellor. Asked to sanction the Act of Supremacy supporting Henry's right to break from the Roman Catholic Church, attain an annulment, and marry Anne Boleyn, More refused and was executed for treason on July 6, 1535. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1935. More's story is told in the play and film A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt.
[Excerpted with permission from the entry on Thomas More by Sandi Nesbit, from The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation, edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 2003 by Upper Room Books®. All rights reserved.]
Image is of Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger (1498–1543).