Amy G. Tan
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A trial, a guide for jurors, and an allegory
One experience inspiring generically divergent publications
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The third section of the book addresses innovation in genre and content of publications. It begins with an examination in Chapter 7 of a single situation that incited two generically divergent publications. Just as Bernard was closing his period of anti-Catholic writing, he attended the 1626 Taunton summer assizes and spent time with Edward Bull, a man charged with, and subsequently executed for, witchcraft. This experience would shape two of Bernard’s best-known works: an allegory, The Isle of Man, and a manual about witchcraft trials, A Guide to Grand-Iury Men. Scholars have mentioned these works with some regularity, but typically only within studies discussing allegory (Isle) or witchcraft and demonology (Guide); and their origin in Bernard’s experience at the trial has received limited attention. This chapter takes a different approach, first focusing on the situation at the assizes its contexts, and then turning to consider how and why Bernard chose to produce these two rather unusual publications, innovating with both genre and content in order to make various messages clear. This allows us to observe something of the entanglement and mutual influences between Bernard’s personal pastoral ministry and his publications. Moreover, because it places the ‘devotional’ Isle alongside the religio-socio-judicial Guide, it allows us to identify critical linkages, not previously recognised, between two publications that on the surface appear quite distinct.

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The pastor in print

Genre, audience, and religious change in early modern England