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Anthony Ascham and English political thought, 1648–50

The Puritan Revolution of mid-seventeenth-century England produced an explosion of new and important political thinking. In addition to most famous thinkers, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Robert Filmer and the Levellers, there are other important figures who have been relatively neglected, of whom Anthony Ascham is one. This book is the first full-scale study of Ascham's political thought. Ascham's works were intended to convince lay Presbyterians and royalists to adhere to the policy of national pacification implemented from 1648 by the Independent 'party' within Parliament. From 1648 to 1650 Ascham's propaganda primarily dealt with the issue of the validity of oaths, and insisted on the reciprocal relation between obedience and protection. The first part of Ascham's Discourse focused on 'what things, and how farre a man may lawfully conform to the power and commands of those who hold a kingdome divided by civill warre'. Ascham adopted a twofold line of argument: in the first, he sought to demonstrate that war was consistent with natural law and scripture. Secondly, not all types of war were consistent with the Christian religion and the natural law of self-preservation, only the defensive war. Ascham's natural law theory, which he drew from Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes and John Selden, had therefore both civil and religious implications. Ascham proposed a synthesis between Grotius and Niccolò Machiavelli, underlining the priority of state order over political participation, and justifying war as a means of accessing power only to confirm the necessity of re-establishing order.

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Marco Barducci

The Puritan Revolution of mid-seventeenth-century England produced an explosion of new and important political thinking. But while due attention has been given to the most famous thinkers, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Robert Filmer and the Levellers, there are other important figures who have been relatively neglected, of whom Anthony Ascham is one. Ascham does attract a certain amount of scholarly interest

in Order and conflict
Church power in the Puritan Revolution, 1638–44

The years 1638 through 1644 straddle a crucial divide in British history, as calls for religious reform and renewal mutated into political revolution. This book seeks to bring coherence to a pre-revolutionary historiography that focuses on questions of conformity to and semi-separatism from 'the church by law established' and a post-1642 historiography built around a coarse polarity between 'presbyterianism' and 'independency'. It recognises that the 1640s brought new men to the fore and an intense interaction between religious divines and lay Members of Parliament (MPs) who struggled for control of a nation and the future of its church. While the historiographical rediscovery since the 1980s of Protestant scholasticism has helped to rescue post-Reformation English puritanism from the realms of pietistic platitudes, it has not been equally applied to the field of ecclesiology. The book questions the use of various pamphlet sources and also engages in a careful analysis of several well-known, but relatively unused, texts. It provides a methodology for how to approach the published volumes on the Westminster assembly edited by Chad Van Dixhoorn. Presbyterianism, much less Scottish presbyterianism, was not a forgone conclusion when the Westminster assembly first met. The book seeks to show that the dynamics in the Westminster assembly owes far more to esprit de corps within a body confident in the calling of its members by God without any need to seek puppet-masters across the road from the Abbey Church of St Peter.

Alternative models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570–c.1700

Catholicism and Presbyterianism were the most powerful alternatives to the varieties of Protestant episcopalianism, which secured the backing of governments from the 1560s to the 1680s, challenging that order in each of the three insular kingdoms - England, Ireland and Scotland. This book explores some of the complexities of the Catholic and Presbyterian projects in each, focusing on how they sought to gain, or regain, the position of church establishments inclusive of entire populations and exclusive in their claims, the guardians of the spiritual welfare of nations, and how they sought to adapt to the fact that most of the time such aspirations were far short of fulfilment. It studies the changing views on church and state and suggests the value of a comparative approach to the intellectual history of Presbyterianism, one that attends to the reciprocal influence of English, Irish, Scottish and American Presbyterians on each other, and also registers the shaping role of national context. Presbyterianism looked different in each of the nation. In England, most Presbyterians became increasingly liberal theologically, drifting from moderate Baxterian Calvinism towards Arminianism, and then towards Arianism, Socinianism and Unitarianism; in Scotland, they became sharply divided between Calvinists and Moderates; in Ulster, the orthodox remained ascendant, but there was a liberal minority; in America, divisions between revivalists and their critics disguised a basic Calvinist consensus.

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Hunter Powell

became known as such for their official dissent to the only proposition the Westminster assembly ever passed regarding presbyterian church government. The Dissenting Brethren, or Apologists – Thomas Goodwin, Jeremiah Burroughs, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson and William Bridge – were a small group of congregational ministers who went into exile in Holland together in the late 1630s, and published a famous tract during the Westminster assembly entitled the Apologeticall Narration.5 No group in the history of the Puritan Revolution had a more disproportionate impact on the

in The crisis of British Protestantism
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Gender, genre, exile

This book examines critical assessments of the woman and her work (again, that almost unavoidable conflation) from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first. The author conveys some of the creative energy of Cavendish and her work in the middle years of the seventeenth century. More importantly, though, the author wants to show how her work was politically charged, not in any immediately evident way, but in a highly complex and imaginative way. The book illustrates and expands upon the book's central hypothesis: that Cavendish used genre in her writings of the 1650s as a means of articulating her powerlessness in the face of what the author comes to define as a 'triple exile'. In this book the author has, further, identified affinities in intention and circumstances surrounding the writing of texts earlier than those of Cavendish. Her take on earlier authors' rhetorical stances facilitates her own, acutely contemporary, comment and creativity. Cavendish's treatment of genre undergoes a transformation during and because of the civil wars which, to royalist minds, spelled the end of an epic past. The book differs in its emphasis from earlier examinations of Cavendish's writings. The author returns to the 'rehabilitative' nature of recent work on Cavendish and her writings, demonstrating how her own study has participated in this process of rehabilitation. Literary canonicity was, analogously, another 'place' from which Cavendish was for centuries exiled. This book represents a redemption of the writer from, at the very least, that particular iniquitous cultural corollary to the triple exile.

Bodies and environments in Italy and England

This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy. The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to affect human bodies and health.

Cheshire on the eve of civil war
Authors: and

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.

Presbyterian clergy, religious liberty and intellectual change
John Coffey

coercion was not a point of sharp controversy, and was not explicitly addressed either in print or in manuscript. But although the evidence is fragmentary, it is sufficient to allow us to trace changing attitudes to religious liberty, and to add another dimension to recent research on the emergence of Enlightenment values within Scottish and Irish Presbyterianism. Puritan Revolution and Anglican Restoration (1642–88) To understand the scale of later developments, we need to remind ourselves of how implacably earlier Presbyterians had opposed the legal toleration of

in Insular Christianity
The congregationalist divines and the establishment of church and magistrate in Cromwellian England
Hunter Powell

, together with those presbyterians still willing to work with the post-regicide regimes, began to recognise that England’s puritan revolution had flirted too much with religious toleration and a wider acceptance of formerly marginalised sects and opinions. With the emergence, throughout the 1650s, of disruptive sectarian groups and heterodox beliefs like Socinianism and quakerism, the divines who represented the mainstream of pre-civil-war ‘puritanism’ sought ways to clamp down on what they saw as burgeoning religious extremism or see their own revolution completely

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