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Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds

This book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. The themes and concerns include a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays. Collectivities, solidarities and collective action are everywhere in these essays, as Reynolds has shown us to expect them to be. Collective action was carried out often in pursuit of social peace, but it existed precisely because there was discord. Of the narratives and interpretative frameworks with which Reynolds's work has been concerned, the book has least to say directly on the debate over feudalism. The book engages many of the themes of Reynolds's work and pursues some of the issues which are prominent in re-examinations of the medieval world and in studies of the medieval laity. It discusses secular aristocratic attitudes towards judicial combat within the broader setting of fictional 'treason trials' of the later twelfth century. Although kinship did not start out as an explicit and overt theme of the book, it emerges as a leitmotiv, perhaps in part because when feudalism is removed, kinship is thrown into sharper relief.

Joseph Hardwick

the Church of England. Were they those who attended church, or did the individual have to pass some stiffer test – such as confirmation, baptism or regular communion – before they could call themselves an Anglican? The Cornwall episode also shows how differently the ministry and the laity could view the Church. While Rudd saw it as an English transplant, his flock seem to have regarded the church as

in An Anglican British World
Elizabeth A. R. Brown

This volume’s title, Law, Laity and Solidarities in Medieval Europe, reflects three of Susan Reynolds’s chief interests, which she has treated singly and commingled. 1 Here, in homage to a valued friend and intellectual companion, I shall approach the topics from a somewhat different perspective from hers, a perspective that is inspired by her methodological admonitions and that I hope complements her broad vision of medieval society. The chief purpose of this essay is to question the appropriateness of distinguishing sharply between lay (or secular and

in Law, laity and solidarities
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Author: Cara Delay

Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism is the only book-length study of lay Catholic women in modern Irish history. Focusing on the pivotal century from 1850 to 1950, it analyses the roles that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women played in the evolution of Irish Catholicism and thus the creation of modern Irish identities. This project demonstrates that in an age of Church growth and renewal stretching from the aftermath of the Great Famine through the early years of the Irish Republic, lay women were essential to all aspects of Catholic devotional life, including both home-based religion and public Catholic rituals. It also reveals that women, by rejecting, negotiating, and reworking Church dictates, complicated Church and clerical authority. Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism re-evaluates the relationship between the institutional Church, the clergy, and women, positioning lay Catholic women as central actors in the making of modern Ireland. It also contests views that the increasing power of the Catholic Church caused a uniform decline in Irish women’s status after the Great Famine of the 1840s, revealing that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women fought with their priests, dominated household religion, and led parish rituals, thus proving integral to the development of a modern Irish Catholic ethos and culture.

Romila Thapar

The differentiation between the laity and those who have received ordination in a religion is not characteristic of all religions. In some it is demarcated, in some it is not to be found, and in yet others the differentiation is blurred. I would like to contrast the recognition and concern for the laity in Buddhism with the other major religion of early India, Hinduism, which tends either to leave it fluid or as in some sects, gives it no recognition. Votive inscriptions from Buddhist sites in the Deccan, the northern part of the Indian peninsula, during the

in Law, laity and solidarities
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Pauline Stafford, Janet L. Nelson, and Jane Martindale

This collection of essays is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to recent reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. It is arranged chronologically but is bound together by a series of themes and concerns. Those themes and concerns are hers: a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. For her

in Law, laity and solidarities
An exploration of church polity and the governance of the region’s churches
Francis J. Bremer

he saw of that kind’.17 LAITY AND MINISTRY If the broadening of membership was seen as one element of a perceived drift from congregationalism to presbyterianism, a perceived shift in the distribution of powers within the individual congregation was another area of concern for men such as Davenport. Virtually all puritans interpreted the passages in the gospel of Matthew in which Christ referred to the church (Matthew 16:19 and 18:17) as identifying the individual congregation as the church.18 But there was no consensus on what this meant in terms of how the

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

traditional life of prayer and contemplation far from society, but a life of apostolic service within society. Initially, church leadership begrudgingly welcomed the increased participation of an active laity in alleviating ills such as poverty, indigence, and epidemics. While constantly trying to at least place ecclesiastical controls on this civic activism, papal policy unintentionally allowed for a wide variety of religious charitable experimentation. Communal need and institutional neglect led to the emergence of the medieval hospital as a

in Hospitals and charity
Elliot Vernon

argues that the critical factor in understanding the history of the Province of London was not institutional, but rather personal. The true backbone of London presbyterian government was not institutional foundation or authority, but the collective dedication of the London presbyterian laity and clergy to the cause of further reformation. The election of ruling elders The Province of London, at least according to the Parliamentary ordinances, covered ‘London’ in the widest sense of the word used in the seventeenth

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64