Academic journal article Theological Studies

Persuasion and Conversion: Essays on Religion, Politics, and the Public Sphere in Early Modern England

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Persuasion and Conversion: Essays on Religion, Politics, and the Public Sphere in Early Modern England

Article excerpt

Persuasion and Conversion: Essays on Religion, Politics, and the Public Sphere in Early Modern England. By W. J. Torrance Kirby. Studies in the History of Christian Traditions. Boston: Brill, 2013. Pp. x + 229. $139.

Kirby's book is a fascinating and thorough exploration of the emergence of the modern "public sphere" through practices of persuasion in 16th-century England. The central premise that unites the volume's nine essays is that the religious reformations of the 16th century offered a "radically distinct notion of mediation" between the individual Christian and God, and between the private sphere of religious belief and practice and the public, institutional space of church and/or state (1). This new notion of mediation was achieved through a culture of persuasion exercised primarily through pulpits and nascent print culture. While not proposing a radically new thesis in the field, the detailed historical studies in these essays provide an excellent foundation for fleshing out exactly how this "culture of persuasion" came to be and achieve the end of creating a new notion of public space and identity.

Primarily a study on the emergence of the early modern public sphere in England, K. …

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