Academic journal article Parergon

Harmes, Marcus K., Bishops and Power in Early Modern England

Academic journal article Parergon

Harmes, Marcus K., Bishops and Power in Early Modern England

Article excerpt

Harmes, Marcus K., Bishops and Power in Early Modern England, London, Bloomsbury, 2013; hardback; pp. 232; 7 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. AU$130.00; ISBN 9781472508355.

The view that the English Reformation affected the episcopacy is well known in the current historiography. Bishops had to defend against claims of 'popishness', negotiate their relationship with the monarchy, and assert their authority in a reformed Church. Marcus Harmes, in studying this one hundred and fifty year period, endeavours to add to this body of work by attempting to demonstrate that 'the Reformation functioned as a legitimating agent for episcopal authority' (p. 3). To reach this conclusion, the book uses five case studies. While this approach has allowed Harmes to provide a detailed analysis of five specific events, the narrow case studies are implicitly held, somewhat problematically, to be indicative of wider patterns.

The first chapter provides an overview of the episcopacy in Reformation England. Chapter 2 juxtaposes the works of John Harrington, who argued in support of the role bishops played in reforming the Church, with those of the deprived Puritan minister, Josias Nichols, who linked his nonconformist beliefs with early reforming bishops. Chapter 3 focuses on Archbishop Richard Bancroft, and his campaign against exorcisms, which Harmes uses to demonstrate the ways that bishops responded to new challenges to their authority. …

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