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Cheshire on the eve of civil war
Authors: Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This book aims to revisit the county study as a way into understanding the dynamics of the English civil war during the 1640s. It explores gentry culture and the extent to which early Stuart Cheshire could be said to be a ‘county community’. It investigates the responses of the county’s governing elite and puritan religious establishment to highly polarising interventions by the central government and Laudian ecclesiastical authorities during Charles I’s Personal Rule. The second half of the book provides a rich and detailed analysis of the petitioning movements and side-taking in Cheshire during 1641-42. This important contribution to understanding the local origins and outbreak of civil war in England will be of interest to all students and scholars studying the English Revolution.

S.J. Barnett

Historians, religion and the historical record 2 Historians, religion and the historical record The origins of Enlightenment anticlericalism The politico-religious convulsions across Europe from the Reformation until the eighteenth century were numerous and bloody. The resulting religious divisions were enshrined in confessional states, but, as with the cases of Protestant England and Catholic France, religious minorities remained persecuted and disabled. It would have been truly miraculous if many Christians had not wearied of the constant conflict between

in The Enlightenment and religion
Primitivism and the primitive Church
Robert G. Ingram

Chapter 12 The religion of the first ages: primitivism and the primitive Church I n September 1735, Matthias Symson visited the London bookseller George Strahan to gauge Strahan’s interest in publishing his friend Zachary Grey’s response to Isaac Newton’s Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733). Strahan, owner of one of London’s largest printing houses, had no interest, explaining to Symson that ‘he did not care to meddle: it being an abstruse subject, he did not know how it would take’: he worried that Grey’s retort

in Reformation without end
The Welsh experience of church polity, 1640–60
Stephen K. Roberts

Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic Chapter 4 ‘One of the least things in religion’: the Welsh experience of church polity, 1640–60 Stephen K. Roberts T he condition of the protestant ministry in Wales was considered as deplorable at the restoration of the monarchy as it had been on the eve of the civil war nearly twenty years previously, and the condition of Wales, both in social and religious terms, remained generally marginal to the concerns of successive regimes at Westminster. Yet controversy over the governance of the church in Wales was

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
J. F. Merritt

Chapter 6 . Religion, politics and society in revolutionary Westminster S ome of the most striking changes that affected Westminster in the 1640s and 1650s occurred in the area of religion. The dissolution of the dean and chapter represented the removal of a religious institution that had played a central role in the locality since pre-Reformation times. As we have seen, the Abbey itself and Westminster parish churches now often served as the venues for the most important expressions of the public face of the succession of regimes that followed. But these

in Westminster 1640–60
Elaine Hobby

times, alternating the identities of wife and widow. 4 Through focusing in turn on some deliberately disparate sources – spiritual autobiographies, midwifery manuals, and an extraordinary ‘History’ by Aphra Behn – this chapter seeks to indicate the huge range of under-read materials available to researchers interested in the role of religion in women’s life-cycle events, and to suggest that literary critical methods can make an important contribution to their analysis. In 1653, as Oliver

in Religion and life cycles in early modern England
Angela Connelly

Methodist Central Halls were built in most British towns and cities. They were designed not to look like churches in order to appeal to the working classes. Entirely multi-functional, they provided room for concerts, plays, film shows and social work alongside ordinary worship. Some contained shops in order to pay for the future upkeep of the building. The prototype for this programme was provided in Manchester and opened on Oldham Street in 1886. This article offers a first analysis of it as a building type and looks at the wider social and cultural contribution of the building. It continues the narrative by discussing changing use and design during a twentieth century that witnessed the widespread contraction of Methodist congregations.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Rachel Cope

Although Catherine Livingston Garrettson (1752–1849) initially encountered feelings of isolation upon converting to Methodism, she discovered that the written word allowed her to engage in relational rather than solitary religious experiences. Over time, the written word helped her create a web of meaningful ties with imagined and actual kin and motivated her to form, develop and foster additional relationships in multiple contexts. Garrettson’s story thus demonstrates the need to consider how the real and imagined communities encountered through reading and constructed through writing have played a role in the spiritual development of early American women. Indeed, women’s experiences serve not simply to explain aspects of American social development, but to illuminate their broader world of connections – familial, religious, social and literary.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral Minority
Joseph Vogel

In the 1980s, James Baldwin recognized that a major transformation had occurred in the socio-political functions of religion. His critique adapted accordingly, focusing on the ways in which religion—particularly white evangelical Christianity—had morphed into a movement deeply enmeshed with mass media, conservativepolitics, and late capitalism. Religion in the Reagan era was leveraged, sold, and consumed in ways never before seen, from charismatic televangelists, to Christian-themed amusement parks, to mega-churches. The new movement was often characterized as the “religious right” or the “Moral Majority” and was central to both Reagan’s political coalition as well as the broader culture wars. For Baldwin, this development had wide-ranging ramifications for society and the individual. This article draws on Baldwin’s final major essay, “To Crush the Serpent” (1987), to examine the author’s evolving thoughts on religion, salvation, and transgression in the context of the Reagan era.

James Baldwin Review

Religion and life cycles in early modern England examines intersections between religion and all stages of the life course. It considers rites of passage that shaped an individual’s life, such as birth, death, marriage and childbirth. It investigates everyday lived experiences including attending school and church, going to work, praying, writing letters and singing hymns. It sets examples from different contexts alongside each other and traces how different religious confessions were impacted by the religious and political changes that occurred in the two centuries following the Reformation. These approaches demonstrate the existence of multiple and overlapping understandings of the life cycle in early modern England. The collection is structured around three phases: birth, childhood and youth; adulthood and everyday life; and the dying and the dead. Coexisting with the bodily life cycle were experiences which formed the social life cycle such as schooling, joining a profession, embarking on travel abroad, marriage, parenthood and widowhood. Woven through these occurrences, an individual’s religious life cycle can be seen: the occasions when they were welcomed into a particular faith; when they were tempted to convert; when they joined the ministry or a convent. Early modern individuals often reflected on times they personally acknowledged to have transformed their life or events which instigated their spiritual awakening. They did so creatively in diaries, letters, plays, portraits, diagrams, sermons, poetry and hymns. In this interdisciplinary collection, the complex meanings of life-cycle events for early modern people are shown to be shaped by religious belief and experience.