Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in context/The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England

By Laborie, Lionel | The Seventeenth Century, December 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in context/The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England


Laborie, Lionel, The Seventeenth Century


Varieties of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century English radicalism in context, edited by Ariel Hessayon and David Finnegan, Famham & Burlington, VT, Ashgate, 2011, xiv + 271 pp., £65.00/$124.95 (hardback), ISBN 978-0-7546-6905-0

The rule of moderation: violence, religion and the politics of restraint in early modern England, by Ethan H. Shagan, Cambridge, MA, Cambridge University Press, 2011, xiii + 381 pp., £19.99/$32.99 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-521-13556-6

Despite their repeated efforts, historians are never immune to making anachronisms and misinterpretations. We either use modern terms to designate early modern phenomena or, conversely, we too often understand early modern terms in their modern sense, which inevitably influences our approach to a given subject. These two books aim to rectify this each in their own way and ought as a result to be read together. Both came out the same year and are arranged chronologically; they respectively cover the first and second half of the early modern period, with an overlap on the seventeenth century and the English Revolution in particular. Both brilliantly challenge our understanding of two key-related notions characterising the turmoils of the early modern period: radicalism and moderation. Since one can hardly go without considering the other, a combined reading seems more appropriate and fruitful in the present case.

Shagan's Rule of Moderation focuses on the English Reformation and therefore should be considered first. Right from the introduction, the author debunks our modern idea of moderation by looking at contemporary definitions of the term. Moderation, as he demonstrates, denoted an exertion of authority through restraint and often proved aggressive, coercive, brutal, and violent. In other (modern) words, early modern moderation was immoderate, a definition that the editors of Varieties find sometimes unnecessarily restrictive (12).

After considering the moral moderation of sin, the passions, and women in Part I, Shagan examines its political implementation in Tudor England. His account of the execution of six priests (three Catholics and three Evangelical reformers ) by Henry VIII in 1540 is a fascinating case in point of royal via media in a heterodox religious landscape. The Anglican middle way was not one of compromise and negotiation between two extremes or radicalisms, but rather a powerful weapon enforcing Royal authority and public order. Subsequent chapters explore the rhetoric of moderation in a religious context in the Elizabethan period, showing how Anglicans used moderation to enforce their authority, whilst nonconformists did the same to emphasise self-discipline as part of a "radical moderation" (177).

Although some of its contributors also draw on early Reformation heterodoxy, Varieties does not begin until the English Civil Wars. The book is the product of an interdisciplinary conference held in 2006 at Goldsmiths, London. It offers a fresh and much needed look at the subject with twelve essays challenging modern semantics applied to early modern case studies. The editors do a remarkable job at surveying definitions and approaches to radicalism in their introduction. They successively examine the "nominalist" approach to radicalism (2), which advocates purging modern concepts from the early modern reality, and a "substantive" approach, especially favoured by Marxist historians seeking to legitimise their own political views by constructing an English radical tradition (13-17). Hessayon and Finnegan object to these two approaches, settling instead for a third one called "functional". Despite the risk of anachronisms and inconsistencies it involves, this functional approach uses radicalism as a workable term easily understood by the modern reader, but also calls in return for greater and systematic contextualisation in order to truly grasp its practical implications.

Like Tudor and Stuart moderation, the twelve case studies in Varieties suggest not one, but many forms of radicalism in the seventeenth century. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in context/The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.