Religious Politics in Post-Reformation England: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Tyacke

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Religious Politics in Post-Reformation England: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Tyacke. Edited by Kenneth Fincham and Peter Lake. [Studies in Modern British Religious History, Vol. 13.] (Rochester, New York: The Boydell Press. 2006. Pp. xiv, 252. $85.00.)

This is a Festschrift for Nicholas Tyacke, a wide-ranging and meticulous scholar, who was and continues to be one of the most important modern historians of early modern Britain. His main field of interest is the religious and ecclesiastical history of England, especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. All the essays in this book are on topics that lie within that field.The contributors are a distinguished team, and the quality of the essays is far higher than is often the case with such collections. In a relatively short review it is possible to pick out only a few highlights.

The book begins with an Introduction by Peter Lake. Titled "Puritanism, Arminianism and Nicholas Tyacke," this clearly and cogently locates Tyacke's work in its historiographical context. It deals especially with his highly influential thesis that religious conflict in early seventeenth-century England resulted more from the rise of Arminianism, and from a Calvinist reaction against it, than from supposedly revolutionary Puritanism. In a later chapter, Lake provides a compelling analysis of anti-Puritanism. An entertaining and informative chapter by Keith Thomas on 'Art and Iconoclasm" effectively rebuts the suggestion that the Reformation killed English art, convincingly notes that iconoclasm can be well grounded in religious principle and was practiced by Catholics as well as Protestants, and amusingly moots a link between the hostility to pictures of the Quakers and the high incidence of color blindness among them. Diarmaid MacCulloch's "The Latitude of the Church of England" stresses the importance for the development of English Protestantism of the Zürich reformer Bullinger and of tensions between Bullinger and Calvin. He has interesting things to say about Familists, with whom Queen Elizabeth herself was connected and who perhaps included the adept Tudor trimmer Andrew Perne. …