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Special worship in the British world, 1783–1919
Author: Joseph Hardwick

European settlers in Canada, Australia and South Africa said they were building ‘better Britains’ overseas. But devastating wars, rebellions, epidemics and natural disasters often threatened these new societies. It is striking that settlers in such environments turned to old traditions of collective prayer and worship to make sense of these calamities. At times of acute stress, colonial governments set aside whole days of fasting, humiliation and intercession so that entire populations could join together to implore God’s intervention, assistance or guidance. And at moments of relief and celebration, such as the coming of peace, or the birth of a royal, the whole empire might participate in synchronised acts of thanksgiving and praise to God. This book asks why acts of ‘special worship’ with origins in early modernity became numerous in the democratic, pluralistic and often secularised conditions found in the settler societies of the ‘British world’. Such intense and highly visible occasions had the potential to reach all members of a colonial society: community-wide occasions of prayer were hard to ignore, they required considerable organisation, and they stimulated debate and reflection on a range of political, social and religious issues. The book argues that religion, and more specifically traditional rituals and practices, had a vital role to play in the formation of regional identities and local particularisms in what remained, in many ways, a loosely networked and unconnected empire.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
The Armorial of Bianca Maria Sforza, Copied for August of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger (Manchester, John Rylands Library, German MS. 2)
Ben Pope

German MS. 2 is a previously unstudied armorial dating from the mid-sixteenth century. This article shows that it was produced in the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger for Elector August of Saxony, and that it was copied from an earlier armorial of c.1500 which was kept in Cranach’s workshop, probably as reference material. Much of the original content and structure of this ‘old armorial’ has been preserved in Rylands German 2. On this basis, the original armorial can be located in a late fifteenth-century Upper German tradition of armorial manuscripts known as the ‘Bodensee’ group. It was also closely linked to the Habsburg dynasty, and appears to have been dedicated to Empress Bianca Maria Sforza. The armorial therefore opens significant new perspectives on the relationships between artists and heraldry and between women and heraldic knowledge, and on ways of visualising the Holy Roman Empire through heraldry.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
John Morrow

Carlyle regarded the Reformation as a seminal event in the history of modern Europe, the starting point of an ongoing stage in human development. Reformation Protestantism gave birth to a more general and pervasive spirit of ‘reformation’ that Carlyle identified with the moral destiny of all individuals and communities. These qualities were epitomized by heroic figures such as Luther and Cromwell but they were also embedded in cultures that responded productively to the ongoing challenge of reformation. Having traced the history of the ethos of reformation through English Puritanism and in the commitment to transformative action or ‘work’ that gave rise to Britains emergence as a leading industrial and imperial power, Carlyle brought this reinvention of the Reformation to bear in his critique of the counter-reforming tendencies in early Victorian society that he saw as posing a profound threat to it.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Andrew Atherstone

William Tyndale, the Bible translator and Reformation martyr, enjoyed a sudden revival of interest in the mid-nineteenth century. This article examines one important aspect of his Victorian rehabilitation – his memorialization in stone and bronze. It analyses the campaigns to,erect two monuments in his honour – a tower on Nibley Knoll in Gloucestershire, inaugurated in 1866; and a statue in central London, on the Thames Embankment, unveiled in 1884. Both enjoyed wide support across the political and ecclesiastical spectrum of Protestantism, and anti-Catholicism was especially prominent in the first initiative. Both monuments emphasized the blessings of the Bible in English, the importance of religious liberty, and the prosperity of England and the Empire as a result of its Reformation heritage. The article argues that controversy concerning Tractarianism and biblical criticism was brushed under the carpet, and Tyndales distinctive evangelical theology was deliberately downplayed, in order to present the martyr as a unifying figure attractive to a broad Protestant coalition.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library