1st Edition

Miracles, Political Authority and Violence in Medieval and Early Modern History

Edited By Matthew Rowley, Natasha Hodgson Copyright 2022
    270 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This volume examines how historical beliefs about the supernatural were used to justify violence, secure political authority or extend toleration in both the medieval and early modern periods.

    Contributors explore miracles, political authority and violence in Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, various Protestant groups, Judaism, Islam and the local religious beliefs of Pacific Islanders who interacted with Christians. The chapters are geographically expansive, with contributions ranging from confessional conflict in Poland-Lithuania to the conquest of Oceania. They examine various types of conflict such as confessional struggles, conversion attempts, assassination and war, as well as themes including diplomacy, miraculous iconography, toleration, theology and rhetoric. Together, the chapters explore the appropriation of accounts of miraculous violence that are recorded in sacred texts to reveal what partisans claimed God did in conflict, and how they claimed to know. The volume investigates theories of justified warfare, changing beliefs about the supernatural with the advent of modernity and the perceived relationship between human and divine agency.

    Miracles, Political Authority and Violence in Medieval and Early Modern History is of interest to scholars and students in several fields including religion and violence, political and military history, and theology and the reception of sacred texts in the medieval and early modern world.

    Introduction: Divine Violence: From the Ancient Near East to the Assault on the United States Capitol

    Matthew Rowley

    1. "Words that supply Valour": God, Warfare, and the Rhetoric of Persuasion in Carolingian History Writing
    2. Robert Evans

    3. Bearded Ghosts and Holy Visions: Miracles, Manliness and Clerical Authority on the First Crusade
    4. Natasha Hodgson

    5. Narrating ‘New Wonders’: Divine Agency, Crusade, and Afonso I of Portugal’s 1147 Conquest of Santarém
    6. Beth C. Spacey

    7. Miracles, Divine Agency, and Christian-Muslim Diplomacy During the Crusades
    8. Scott Moynihan

    9. Divining God’s Favour and Diverting His Wrath: Supernatural Intervention in the Hussite Wars under Jan Žižka, 1419–1424
    10. Andrew K. Deaton

    11. The Sword of God: Tyrannicide as a Providential and Miraculous Event from Medieval Debates to Early Modern Religious Conflicts
    12. Julien Le Mauff

    13. The place of miraculous images/icons in the confrontation between Christian confessions in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the Sixteenth to Seventeenth Centuries
    14. Volha Barysenka

    15. Providence and Conscience During the Cromwellian Conquest of Scotland, 1650–53
    16. Calum S. Wright

    17. ‘Universal martyrdom’: Resistance and Religion in 1650s Ireland
    18. Joan Redmond

    19. Authority, Toleration and Miracles in the Writings of Roger Williams, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
    20. Matthew Rowley

    21. ‘Our Almighty God is the Over-ruling Generalissimo’: Teaching and Experiencing God in the British Army, 1688–1714
    22. Ping Liao

    23. Immanent Power and the Conversion of Kings
    24. Alan Strathern

    25. Pointillist Proofs of Divine Agency in War

             Matthew Rowley


    Matthew Rowley is Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester and a historian of early modern religion and violence. Trump and the Protestant Reaction to Make America Great Again (2021) examined how Americans interact with historical racism, sexism and exploitation. He is editing a two-volume Global Sourcebook in Protestant Political Thought, 1517–1914.

    Natasha Hodgson is Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Nottingham Trent University. She wrote Women, Crusading and the Holy Land (2017) and co-edited Crusading and Masculinities (2019). She is series editor for Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History and Advances in Crusader Studies and co-edits Nottingham Medieval Studies.