Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Protestant Identities: Religion, Society, and Self-Fashioning in Post-Reformation England

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Protestant Identities: Religion, Society, and Self-Fashioning in Post-Reformation England

Article excerpt

MURIEL C. MCCLENDON, JOSEPH P. WARD, AND MICHAEL MACDONALD, EDS. Protestant Identities: Religion, Society, and Self-Fashioning in Post-Reformation England. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1999. Pp. xiii + 372, index. $55.00.

In this perceptive and important volume thirteen outstanding scholars have provided fourteen essays that examine the complexities in the theological innovations that emerged in sixteenth and seventeenth-century English Protestant thought and the impact of these notions on shaping the English "Protestant Identity." All of these scholars have been influenced in varying degrees by the seminal studies of Eamon Duffy (The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c. 1400-c.1580, 1992) and Christopher Haigh (English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society Under the Tudors, 1993); Duffy and Haigh culminated the dismantlement of the long-standing view that the English people embraced Protestantism almost immediately upon its development. In the wake of this post-Duffy/Haigh revisionist position, Muriel C. McClendon (University of California, Los Angeles), Joseph R Ward (University of Mississippi) and Michael MacDonald (University of Michigan) have edited and contributed to a volume structured in three parts: Passion and Practice, Diffusion and the Limits of Appropriation, and Religion and Locality. Each of the essays is based on primary sources and provides us with a particularly valuable insight into the development of these "Protestant Identities."

Underlying the volume is the fundamental understanding that there was no single "Protestant Identity" and the diversity in English (perhaps, at times, British) life and thought resulted in a wide range of personal manifestations of Protestantism. In the first part, David Cressy ("Different Kinds of Speaking: Symbolic Violence and secular Iconoclasm in Early Modern England"), Thomas R. Holien ("Conversion and Its Consequences in the Life and Letters of Nicholas Sheterden"), and David R. Como ("The Kingdom of Christ, the Kingdom of England, and the Kingdom of Traske: John Traske and the Persistence of Radical Puritanism in Early Stuart England") examine individual responses to Protestantism and their rejection of conformity. …

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