Popular Religion In Sixteenth-Century England

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This is a lively and accessible study of English religious life during the century of the Reformation. It draws together a wide range of recent research, and makes extensive use of colourful contemporary evidence. The author explores the involvement of ordinary people within, alongside and beyond the church, covering topics such as liturgical practice, church office, relations with the clergy, festivity, religious fellowships, cheap print, "magical" religion, and dissent. The result is a distinctive interpretation of the Reformation as it was experienced by English people, and the strength, resourcefulness and flexibility of their religion emerges as an important theme.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Scholars and students of English Reformation history will find this book a useful resource for the issues and theories of the recent historiography concerning popular religion.” —Sixteenth Century Journal

“The book is written in an energetic, often humourous style, further enlivened by the author's often sharp critiques of recent scholarly views of the subject.” —Church History

Marsh (history, Queens U. of Belfast) delves into how the Reformation was received by the majority of England's people, how parishioners maintained a positive attitude toward the church while negotiating a pathway through the period of rapid and repeated change, why most people considered themselves Protestants by the early 17th century, and similar questions. He characterizes the change as a compromise between old and new rather than a victory of one over the other. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312210946
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 8/15/1998
  • Series: Social History in Perspective Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Marsh is Lecturer in History at the Queen's University of Belfast.

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Table of Contents

• Two Snapshots and an Enigma
• What is Popular Religion, and Does it Matter?
• How Can We Study Popular Religion?
• Historiographical Outlines (and Battle-Lines)
• The Narrative Outline
Layfolk within the Church
• The Centrality of the Church
• Participation in Church Services: The Opportunities
• Participation in Church Services: The Response
• Church Materials
• Church Office
• Confession and Catechism
• The People and their Clergy
Layfolk Alongside the Church
• Extra-Liturgical Festivity
• Attitudes to the Church Courts
• Forms of Fellowship
• Testaments of Faith
• Piety in Print
• "Magical" Religion
Layfolk Beyond the Church
• The Distribution of Dissent
• Beliefs
• Behavior
• Continutiesand Interconnections
• Attitudes to Dissent
• Dissent and Popular Religion
Conclusions: The Complaince Concundrum
• The Relative Popularity of Old and New
• The Roots of Obedience
• Reformist Tactics
• Continuities
• The Flexibility of Faith
• Popular Religion through the Reformation
• Glossary
• Bibliography

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