Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Elite and Popular Religion: Papers Read at the 2004 Summer Meeting and the 2005 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Elite and Popular Religion: Papers Read at the 2004 Summer Meeting and the 2005 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society

Article excerpt

Elite and Popular Religion: Papers Read at the 2004 Summer Meeting and the 2005 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society. Edited by Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory. Studies in Church History, Volume 42. (Rochester, New York: Boydell & Brewer, 2006, Pp. xiv, 441. $80.00.)

The thirty-three papers in this excellent collection read at the 2004 summer and 2005 winter Ecclesiastical History Society meetings span aspects of elite and popular religion from Visigoth Spain to pop music in churches in the 1990s, and touch on many major themes in between. Eamon Duffy chose the theme for his presidential year and in his introduction argues that the job of the ecclesiastical historian is to subvert the artificial distinction-created by historians over a long period-of elite and popular religion. A number of essays in the collection respond to this injunction and argue for a synthesis of elite and popular religion and the abandonment of artificial distinctions. Duffy himself does this by showing that both rich and poor owned books of hours and used them for devotional purposes in medieval England. So do the contributions of medievalists Eamonn O'Carragain, Robert Swanson, and David D'Array in the fields of crosses, prayers, and preaching. In contrast, A. K. McHardy argues for the divergence of aristocratic and common religious experiences during the age of John Wycliffe and Kathryne Bebe sees differences in experience but convergence in motivation in pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the late medieval period. In later essays, historians grapple with ideas of elite and popular religion in a more complex economic and social environment. …

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