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Genre, audience, and religious change in early modern England
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This study analyses the career choices and religious contexts of early modern pastors who chose to become print authors, addressing ways that the ability to publish could enhance, limit, or change pastoral ministry. It demonstrates ways ministers strategically tailored content and genre to achieve certain religious goals among both clerical and lay audiences, and considers ways in which authorship was interconnected with parish work as well as one’s position within the national church. The book features an extended case study of Richard Bernard, a particularly prolific pastor-author whose career provides a coherent framework through which to analyse key features of early modern pastoral-authorial work. It further gives attention to George Gifford, Thomas Wilson, and Samuel Hieron, each of whose career circumstances and authorial choices broaden our view of different ways clerics might incorporate print as an intentional part of their religious vocation. As the first book-length analysis of the phenomenon of early modern pastors writing for print, this study provides a paradigm for understanding these clerics’ efforts in print and parish as an integral part of their careers and their overarching religious goals. By addressing pastoral-authorial work across the span of a career, and by considering how pastor-authors engaged a wide range of topics and genres, the study engages with multiple areas of current scholarly interest: censorship, private religious devotion, polemic, witchcraft, religious education, reference works, and more. The study provides a remarkably comprehensive picture of pastoral publishing and offers a new lens through which to view the intersection of emerging print technologies and religious work in this pivotal period.

Amy G. Tan

This chapter considers the religio-political situation of English-language Bible reference works c. 1550–1650. It focuses upon printed, single-volume publications whose scope included the entire Bible. These works were targeted to broad audiences and tailored to a wide range of interests that different readers might have had on varied occasions. Though there is recent scholarly interest in early modern information management and reading practices, there has been limited attention given to Bible reference works, especially those aimed at broad audiences. Because these publications sought to influence how broad audiences used their Bibles, they had the potential to affect the spread of post-Reformation religious belief. For this reason, they were of interest to church and state authorities, who in turn had a significant impact upon these works’ contents and production. This chapter demonstrates that the genre’s trajectory was towards increasing proliferation in number and style of publications, but that this was fostered or hedged – to varying degrees, and in varying ways – by the changing religio-political scene. By giving attention to this significant but often-overlooked genre, and to the circumstances surrounding its development and production, we gain a more complete understanding of practices surrounding print and the politics of religion in early modern England.

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world
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Ministers and media
Amy G. Tan

The Introduction begins by providing a view of the historiographical contexts of the study and discusses prior scholarly work pointing to clerical authorship as an area ready for further examination. It then presents the paradigm of the ‘pastor-author’ as a category which provides the basis for the present study and introduces the book’s employment of a case-study methodology as a way to deeply analyse the interrelationship of clerical and authorial activities. Further, it addresses the book’s focus upon moderate puritan pastor-authors by explaining that while authorship could fit well with the religious goals and the circumstances of puritan pastors, no unique connection is suggested between puritanism and pastor-authorship; rather, this connection is a matter of framing, providing coherence to the present study. After outlining the book’s subsequent chapters, the Introduction concludes with an orientation to the life and career of Richard Bernard, whose pastoral-authorial work forms the basis of the book’s central case study.

in The pastor in print
Amy G. Tan

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.

in The pastor in print
Amy G. Tan

Chapter 2 demonstrates several ways that Bernard’s early-career experiences shaped his long-term relationship with the national church as well as his approach to print authorship. It highlights how returning to conformity actually strengthened Bernard’s commitment (when pressed) to abiding under the strictures of ecclesiastical superiors – something that would later influence his innovative approaches to publishing on controversial topics. More generally, it shows how his early engagement in his personal ministry and in print mutually enabled and influenced one another in the service of complementary goals both before and after his period of nonconformity. As later chapters will show, the approaches to authorship and pastoral ministry that coalesced during this formative period would reverberate through Bernard’s work for decades to come.

in The pastor in print
Amy G. Tan

Through an examination of the editions of Bernard’s popular clerical manual, Chapter 3 provides new insight into the early modern debate about the nature and uses of religious print. It also helps frame the question of what distinguished a pastor-author, actively pursuing ministry through print and thinking about how readers would respond to different types of material, from the larger number of ministers who had a sermon printed here or there, but did not actively engage with print as part of their pastoral vocation. The chapter begins with an analysis of Bernard’s clerical manual, The Faithfull Shepheard, and explores shifts in his approach over three editions (1607, 1609, and 1621), with later editions suggesting Bernard’s increasing awareness of, and willingness to accommodate, his readers’ needs for explanation and demonstration of the principles he espoused. The second portion of the chapter addresses Bernard’s approach to printed sermons. By examining several publications that Bernard based upon sermons, we see that he maintained the common contemporary understanding that the Word preached orally had special spiritual use and power that could not be replicated in print. Yet rather than driving him away from publishing sermon materials, this led him to consider how sermon material might be presented differently in print, to achieve other, distinct, purposes. Altogether, this chapter allows us to more fully understand the place of printed sermons – and print more generally – within godly pastoral contexts.

in The pastor in print
Catechisms and the question of the fundamentals of the faith
Amy G. Tan

Early modern English catechisms have seen some attention from scholars, notably Ian Green; Chapter 4 builds upon, and suggests certain revisions to, Green’s conclusions. Where he sees catechetical materials as largely void of controversial content and high-level theological issues, this study suggests the opposite. From 1607–29, Bernard developed and refined a two-part catechetical method that closely aligned with what we know of his theoretical and practical goals for catechesis. Analysis of this content suggests that Bernard was willing to accept the Prayer Book catechism only when certain theological caveats were added to clarify its teachings. In 1630, however, Bernard produced an entirely new catechism, substantially different from his earlier method: and also published Good Christian Looke to thy Creede, a work largely catechetical in format and content, but which he did not title a catechism. I argue that we can explain this shift within Bernard’s ecclesiastical context, as Bishop Curll took the see of Bath and Wells and began enforcing restrictions on catechetical practice to a greater degree than his predecessors had. This suggests that the timing and the content of Bernard’s catechetical publications were influenced both by his own convictions and by pressures imposed upon him from above, with his publications in the later period demonstrating an impetus toward creative negotiation in which he actively advertised his conformity before ecclesiastical superiors and any reading audiences, yet sought innovative ways to continue providing users (including, but not limited to, his own parishioners) with catechetical materials consonant with his longstanding approach.

in The pastor in print
Explication and implication in anti-Catholic publications
Amy G. Tan

While Bernard held a position fundamentally opposed to Catholicism throughout his career, his works took a distinctly anti-Catholic focus during only one relatively brief period, c. 1617–29, with a shift c. 1622 in the tone and content of these publications. Chapter 5 first analyses what we know of Bernard’s foundational beliefs about the danger of Catholicism, and then proceeds to contextualise and historicise this amplification, shift, and de-amplification in his published rhetoric about Catholics. It identifies several factors in Bernard’s parish and diocesan contexts, as well as national and international developments, that influenced this trajectory. In particular, it highlights an uptick in his eschatologically centred anti-Catholic writing under Bishop Lake; his shift to a rather less heady eschatological view from c. 1622; and how his 1626 Rhemes Against Rome was intended not only as an anti-Catholic response to John Heigham’s attack on Protestantism, but also as a puritan counterpoint to Richard Montagu’s anti-Calvinist response to Heigham. Subsequently, it discusses several factors related to a growing de-emphasis of overt anti-Catholic rhetoric – until, that is, a 1641 publication directed to Parliament. In all this, the chapter demonstrates ways that different publications – and sometimes, the same publication – could target different audiences with different sorts of messages that nevertheless complemented one another, in view of various theological aims and ecclesio-political contexts.

in The pastor in print
Selfrepresentation to insiders and outsiders
Amy G. Tan

The first portion of Chapter 6 outlines a complex web of interpersonal-cum-religious-cum-financial disputes that rose to a head in 1634 during an episcopal visitation of Bernard’s parish. Then, the chapter addresses Bernard’s manual on giving, Ready Way to Good Works, published just a few months later. Though Ready Way made no explicit mention of the local controversy, this context clearly influenced the work. The chapter identifies several passages that gesture subtly – but meaningfully for those in the know – to Bernard’s local situation; it also highlights several additional passages that explained parts of Bernard’s personal and financial history. Both of these, in different ways, can be read as a sort of life writing which not only intended to provide readers with a positive view of Bernard himself, but also functioned symbiotically with the publication’s overarching aim of encouraging charity. As we will see, this has important relevance for the ways we conceive of authors’ self-presentation before different sorts of audiences.

in The pastor in print
One experience inspiring generically divergent publications
Amy G. Tan

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.

in The pastor in print