Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Thinking of the Laity in Late Tudor England

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Thinking of the Laity in Late Tudor England

Article excerpt

Thinking of the Laity in Late Tudor England. By Peter Iver Kaufman. (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. 2004. Pp. xiv, 175. $40.00 clothbound; $20.00 paperback.)

Thinking of the Laity is not quite a counter-factual history, but it does concern itself with a "might-have-been" of the English Church in the sixteenth century. It examines the hopes and schemes of advocates of greater local and lay control over the Elizabethan Church, and attempts to account for their ultimate failure.This is a line of thought that Kaufman traces from Lollardy and the early Reformation, through the activities of "stranger" churches in the Edwardian period, and into and beyond the Marian persecution (a time when exiled congregations experimented with lay participation in governance). Thereafter, the key figures included William Fulke, John Field, Thomas Lever, and Dudley Fermer, proponents of what Kaufman dubs a populist Puritanism in the first half of Elizabeth's reign. The anachronism "populist," he contends, is allowable if "we suspend the requirement that populists reflect the opinions of those whose participation they promote" (p. 25). The aim was usually, if not full-blown presbyterianism, then at least some degree of lay oversight of the local ministry involving the right to consent to patrons' nominees, or to veto unsatisfactory candidates after probation. All the plans came to nothing, partly as a result of a royal and episcopal backlash in the 1570's exemplified in the putting down of the preaching exercises known as "prophesyings" (occasions which Kaufman regards as more genuinely subversive than does Patrick Collinson); partly as a consequence of reformers' own growing distrust of the common people. From the 1580's, Kaufman contends, Puritans turned to inward piety and abandoned schemes for congregational participation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.