Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Religion and Society in Early Modern England: A Sourcebook

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Religion and Society in Early Modern England: A Sourcebook

Article excerpt

Religion and Society in Early Modern England: A Sourcebook. Edited by David Cressy and Lori Anne Ferrell. 2nd edition. (New York: Routledge, 2005, Pp. x, 254. Paper, $34.00.)

This extremely valuable compendium of primary sources pertains to the religious culture of England from the dawn of the Reformation to the eve of the restoration of the monarchy. The sourcebook is divided into six sections: "Tradition and Change: The Old Religion and the New"; "The Established Church"; "Religious Culture and Religious Contest in Elizabethan England"; "The Jacobean Church"; "Ceremonialism and Its Discontents"; and "Religious Revolution." It is supplemented with several woodcuts and copies of printed materials.

There is no shortage of written material detailing the shifting sands of religious practice and policy between 1530 and 1660, but this collection strikes an ideal balance between familiar samplings, such as, for instance, excerpts from the "Six Articles," The Book of Common Prayer, John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, and Bishop Matthew's Report on the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, and the less familiar, such as the pre-1540 testamentary evidence of two women from Bury St. Edmunds, and post-Reformation wills of men and women from Essex and the Diocese of Durham. The editors wisely let their readers detect the many currents and patterns in official documents and individual tracts, letters, and papers revealing just how central religious practices and dogma remained to the kingdom even as it was at the root of the rancor and confusion that would eventually help touch off a civil war by the early 1640s. …

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