Robert W. Daniel
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‘My sick-bed covenants’
Scriptural patterns and model piety in the early modern sickchamber
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This essay explores how the acts and attitudes during infirmity, in manuscript and printed accounts by both men and women during the seventeenth century, were often theologically cohesive. Patients demonstrated a precise and widely shared biblicism – that is to say, they used the same scriptures – in their sickbed writings. This created a common devotional identity that ran across denominational, social and political lines, and at times crossed the confessional divide. By identifying and examining these shared scriptural patterns, one sees how the ill incorporated broad and attested doctrinal behaviours during their illnesses. This essay also demonstrates how popular sickbed piety was as likely to reject as to reflect the devotional models espoused in printed ‘how-to’ manuals.

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People and piety

Protestant devotional identities in early modern England


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