The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation

Overview

The religious revolution known as the 'Reformation' must rank among the most crucial and transforming events in English history. Yet its original reception by the English people remains largely obscure. Did they welcome the innovations - or did they resist? By what internal motivations were their responses determined? And by what external influences were their attitudes shaped? These are the key issues explored by Robert Whiting in this major investigation, based primarily on original research in the south-west. ...

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Overview

The religious revolution known as the 'Reformation' must rank among the most crucial and transforming events in English history. Yet its original reception by the English people remains largely obscure. Did they welcome the innovations - or did they resist? By what internal motivations were their responses determined? And by what external influences were their attitudes shaped? These are the key issues explored by Robert Whiting in this major investigation, based primarily on original research in the south-west. Dr Whiting's controversial conclusion is that for most of the population the Reformation was less a conversion from Catholicism to Protestantism than a transition from religious commitment to religious passivity or even indifference.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Not for a long time has such a wealth of evidence upon popular religion at the Reformation been collected, nor so meticulously organized ... No one interested in the Reformation should miss this scholarly and significant book.' Susan Brigden, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'[The Blind Devotion of the People] delves down beyond the landed elite into the ranks of 'ordinary' people. It uses endowments and architecture, drama and writing, to brilliant effect ... Its thumbnail sketches are superb ... This is a rounded and convincing, and often moving, analysis of a society faced with the shattering of its traditions, deeply enjoyable to read. And it is a model of what could and should be done with that most fascinating and elusive of historical problems.' Jenny Wormald, The Glasgow Herald

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; Notes; 1. Introduction; 2. Survey; Part I. Assessment: 3. Dependent activities: sacraments, ceremonies and intercessions; 4. Independent activities: prayers, images and cult objects; 5. Inclusive institutions: parish churches, chapels and guilds; 6. Exclusive institutions: papacy, religious orders and secular clergy; 7. Summation of Part I; Part II. Explanation: 8. Spiritual motivations: Lutheranism, Calvinism and other faiths; 9. Non-spiritual motivations: politics, economics and other forces; 10. Mediate influences: literature, drama and art; 11. Immediate influences: example, action and oral communication; 12. Summation of Part II; 13. Perspective; Appendices; Bibliography and abbreviations; Index.

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