This is the first comprehensive study of one of the most important aspects of the Reformation in England: its impact on the status of the dead. Protestant reformers insisted vehemently that between heaven and hell there was no 'middle place' of purgatory where the souls of the departed could be assisted by the prayers of those still living on earth. This was no remote theological proposition, but a revolutionary doctrine affecting the lives of all sixteenth-century English people, and the ways in which their Church and society were organized.
This book illuminates the (sometimes ambivalent) attitudes towards the dead to be discerned in pre-Reformation religious culture, and traces (up to about 1630) the uncertain progress of the 'reformation of the dead' attempted by Protestant authorities, as they sought both to stamp out traditional rituals and to provide the replacements acceptable in an increasingly fragmented religious world. It also provides detailed surveys of Protestant perceptions of the afterlife, of the cultural meanings of the appearance of ghosts, and of the patterns of commemoration and memory which became characteristic of post-Reformation England. Together these topics constitute an important case-study in the nature and tempo of the English Reformation as an agent of social and cultural transformation.
The book speaks directly to the central concerns of current Reformation scholarship, addressing questions posed by 'revisionist' historians about the vibrancy and resilience of traditional religious culture, and by 'post-revisionists' about the penetration of reformed ideas. Dr Marshall demonstrates not only that the dead can be regarded as a significant 'marker' of religious and cultural change, but that a persistent concern with their status did a great deal to fashion the distinctive appearance of the English Reformation as a whole, and to create its peculiarities and contradictory impulses.
`Review from previous edition an admirable treatment of a neglected subject ... This is a book with a wide compass and a wealth of interesting topics ... the research is exhaustive, the writing clear and attractive, and the judgements wise.'
The Church Times
`... excellent ... valuable addition to the literature ... Marshall's book is the study of a central theme of peoples' lives in medieval England and how they coped with its disappearance. This elevates his book in importance and places it in the category of one of the most important books in religious history to have been written in the last two decades. It will be an indispensable book for students of the Reformation and for the religious life of England
after the Reformation.'
`How people in early modern England thought they could relate to the dead is the subject of Peter Marshall's insightful and luminously written Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England.'
1: The Presence of the Dead: Memory and Obligation before the Reformation
2: Debates over the Dead: Purgatory and Polemic in Henrician England
3: 'Rage against the Dead': Reform, Counter-Reform, and the Death of Purgatory
4: The Regulation of the Dead: Ritual and Reform in the English Church, c.1560-1630
5: The Estate of the Dead: The Afterlife in the Protestant Imagination
6: The Disorderly Dead: Ghosts and their Meanings in Reformation England
7: Remembering the Dead: Commemoration and Memory in Protestant Culture
Bibliography of Printed Primary Sources
Number Of Pages: 300
Published: 1st August 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24
Weight (kg): 0.55