David Bagchi
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‘The Scripture moveth us in sundry places’
Framing biblical emotions in the Book of Common Prayer and the Homilies
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A fundamental aim of English Protestantism was to make the Bible available to all. Yet the Bible is a potentially dangerous text, not least in its frank portrayal of unstable, confusing and even frightening emotions, both human and divine. Taking three test cases (the function of emotion-words in the order for Morning Prayer, the defusing of anti-Jewish emotionality in the Good Friday liturgy, and the tempering of Eucharistic devotion in the order for Holy Communion), this chapter shows how the 1559 Book of Common Prayer and I and II Homilies served to mediate and moderate the emotional repertoire of the Bible. It argues that criticisms of the emotional restraint of the BCP by the likes of the Admonitioners in the sixteenth century and of John Milton in the seventeenth should be seen in this context. A comparison with recent research on the emotionality of the German Reformation helps to contextualise this attempt to create a Protestant ‘community of emotion’ on English soil.

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