3. Protestantization in Practice: Popular Beliefs

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 25-05-19 14:17
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  • 3. Protestantization in Practice: Popular Beliefs
    • 1. Keith Thomas: Religion & the Decline of Magic (historian)
      • A pagan world?
      • Protestantism undermines all Christian belief
      • Critiques:
        • Use of sources:
          • Uncontextualised, puritan authors for evidence, reliant on published sources for behaviour
          • Thomas relied almost entirely on written accounts by Clergymen
            • would mean sources were written mostly by Puritans who would be specifically looking for stories like this to suit their own agenda
        • New scholarship on science and magic:
          • magical beliefs not a 'rival' world-view
          • Some argue that Witchcraft fitted in with Christianity - weren't rival ideas around
      • Moved conversations away from people just talking narrowly about Reformation
      • Were there any Christians below the elite?
      • Protestantism comes along and takes beliefs in Paganism away from ordinary people and leaves them with nothing else
      • Theories been attacked since they came out
        • People found it hard to find many examples like ones Thomas found
    • 2. Protestantism - positive evidence
      • Attendance at communion (Jeremy Boulton)
        • Looked at Suffolk
        • Levels of attendance were perhaps related to efforts made by local authorities
        • Idea of people worshiping together
      • By 1590s, low figures for absence from church (Ingram)
    • 3. Protestantism: A problem of evidence
      • Church of England only patrols outward behaviour
        • Government only tested outward behaviour but did not test their personal beliefs
      • Other evidence
        • Historians have limited sources concerning what people personally believed
    • 4. Sources of religious ideas
      • Book of Common Prayer
        • officially sanctioned by government
        • According to historian Maltby, some people do not like it
          • based on Catholic Mass book but with some of perceived Catholic 'errors' removed
      • Sermons
        • Book of Homilies
          • Little short sermons prepared for clergymen to read out to their congregation
          • Puritans not always keen on it
        • published sermons, sermon notes
      • Catechisms
        • Small books of religious instruction
        • Question and answer format
          • Quite user friendly, can be used with children
        • Some run to 60 editions
        • Estimated around 1600 there are half a million of what they call the official Catechism (as drawn up by one of the bishops)
        • Estimated 3/4 million existed written by other clergymen
        • May not get into complex ideas like Predestination but gives basic information
        • designed to provide simple religious education
      • Bibles
        • Religious education comes principally from Bible
        • During James I era more Bibles in English exist than any other time
        • By 1630, there were ten times the amount of Bibles produced in 1540
        • Most popular books of period
        • Numerous editions and major retranslation results in 1611 King James version
      • Cheap Printed Literature
        • Literacy rates?
          • People exist on a scale of literacy, e.g. some can just write their name, others more
        • Combination of text and pictures
        • Protestant reluctance to use images (Collinson) BUT Tessa Watt emphasises use of images in cheap print and at home
          • Collinson: Visual anorexia
          • Watt: demonstrated how Collinson missed the extent of the presence of cheap literature
        • Bawdy rhymes, pamphlets
          • But many printed works have religious tone to them
        • Chapbooks
          • Sold for a penny
          • Had a mixture of songs, sermons, rhymes, prayers, almanacs
          • Lamenting lady, who rejects a beggar woman and is 'strangely punished' by God - gives to 352 children
          • Chapbooks from the pedlar's pack
          • Watt suggests many are distinctively 'post-Reformation' in their content
        • Woodcuts, verses, murder ballads, pamphlets, etc.
        • Debates over English use of images - iconophobia
          • Protestant reluctance to use images emphasied by (Collinson) BUT Tessa Watt emphasises use of images in cheap print and at home
    • 5. Providentialism
      • Popularity of Providential themes in cheap print
        • e.g. Lamenting lady, who rejects a beggar woman and is 'strangely punished' by God
        • e.g. 'Thunder, Hail and Lightning from Heaven' (1616) - features a picture of God
        • e.g. Anthony Painter's 'The Blaspheming Carrier' (1614)
      • Alexandra Walsham, 'Providence in Early Modern England' (1999)
        • The 'Fatal Vespers' at Blackfriars in 1623: God's judgement on Catholics attending a clandestine service
        • e.g. Catholics attending secret service - number resulted in floor giving away and some dying
    • 6. Peter Lake
      • Puritans and providentialism
      • Use of murder pamphlets to engage a popular audience
        • Report latest murders
        • Way of sending moral message
        • Murderer was caught, found God before they were executed
      • 'Deeds against Nature: Cheap Print, Protestantism and Murder in Early Seventeenth-Century England'
    • 7. Key shifts in Protestantisation
      • De-catholicisation
        • e.g. Edmund Bunny purges a work by Jesuit, Robert Parsons and publishes it as 'A Booke of Christian Exercise' in 1584
        • A generational shift
          • People don't need to make effort to join Church of England, just sliding into it
          • As we go on, people don't need to convert to Protestantism
            • Born into Protestant England and not familiar with Catholic era

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