Amy G. Tan
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The ubiquity of ‘the devotional’
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Chapter 1 considers how devotional activities were understood in the early modern period and how meditative thought appeared in a range of early modern publications. It takes the position that devotional practices and publications were inherently interconnected with politics, social concerns, controversy, theology, vocation, and more. To illustrate this principle, the chapter gives specific attention to meditation, one of the most individual and interior of devotional practices. Drawing on descriptions of meditation, as well as meditative writings across multiple genres by a number of authors including Richard Bernard, this chapter offers a new way to characterise meditation – a practice that scholars have found difficulty in defining – by identifying its key characteristic as the making of mental links between the spiritual and the natural worlds. This underscores the utility of considering together all of a pastor-author’s works, across genres and topics, and it establishes the principle of avoiding false separation between ‘devotional’ and ‘non-devotional’ literature as a foundational aspect of analysis throughout the rest of the book.

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The pastor in print

Genre, audience, and religious change in early modern England