Narratives of the Religious Self in Early-Modern Scotland: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Narratives of the Religious Self in Early-Modern Scotland

1st Edition

By David George Mullan


464 pages

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Hardback: 9780754668329
pub: 2010-02-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315597324
pub: 2016-04-22
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Drawing on a rich, yet untapped, source of Scottish autobiographical writing, this book provides a fascinating insight into the nature and extent of early-modern religious narratives. Over 80 such personal documents, including diaries and autobiographies, manuscript and published, clerical and lay, feminine and masculine, are examined and placed both within the context of seventeenth-century Scotland, and also early-modern narratives produced elsewhere. In addition to the focus on narrative, the study also revolves around the notion of conversion, which, while a concept known in many times and places, is not universal in its meaning, but must be understood within the peculiarities of a specific context and the needs of writers located in a specific tradition, here, Puritanism and evangelical Presbyterianism. These conversions and the narratives which provide a means of articulation draw deeply from the Bible, including the Psalms and the Song of Solomon. The context must also include an appreciation of the political history, especially during the religious persecutions under Charles II and James VII, and later the changing and unstable conditions experienced after the arrival of William and Mary on her father's throne. Another crucial context in shaping these narratives was the form of religious discourse manifested in sermons and other works of divinity and the work seeks to investigate relations between ministers and their listeners. Through careful analysis of these narratives, viewing them both as individual documents and as part of a wider genre, a fuller picture of seventeenth-century life can be drawn, especially in the context of the family and personal development. Thus the book may be of interest to students in a variety of areas of study, including literary, historical, and theological contexts. It provides for a greater understanding of the motivations behind such personal expressions of early-modern religious faith, whose echoes can still be heard today.


'Narratives of the Religious Self is meticulously researched, and Mullan is the sort of experienced historian who has read widely enough to know the significance of what he finds in the archives and on antiquarian bookshelves. At various points, he contributes significantly, and offers new material, to scholarly discussions of marriage and family, education and literacy, gender, and popular religion, and he has an eye for comparative history, placing his material often in the context of similar developments in England and New England or within continental Catholicism and earlier church history.' Journal of British Studies ’In Narratives of the Religious Self in Early Modern Scotland, David George Mullan plies his skills both as an historian and a theologian as he delves into the undiscovered country of early modern Scottish autobiography… On the whole this book provides a valuable resource for people interested in Scottish social and religious history as well as for individuals involved in studying different ways in which people of the past constructed their sense of self within changing social and cultural conditions.’ Sixteenth Century Journal ’Overall, this book represents an important contribution to the cultural history of early modern Scotland.’ Scottish Literary Review ’Narratives of the Religious Self is a book which will be of great interest to those who are specialists in seventeenth-century Scotland or those who study international Calvinism.’ Journal of Northern Renaissance '… this book offers a magisterial account of the evolution of the Scottish self in a period of national political and ecclesiastical fragmentation. It deserves to be widely read, both by historians and by practitioners of other disciplines.' Northern Scotland 'This book is a major achievement in its own right but also provides a stepping-stone for much future exploration of the religion and culture of Scotland during the early modern period.' Review of Scottish Cu

Table of Contents

Contents: Apologia pro libro; Prologue; Part I Lives and Times: Memoirs and confessions of justified sinners; Shining lights and burning hearts: evangelical ministers and lay disciples; Surviving childhood; Negotiating adulthood. Part II Constructing the Evangelical Self: Affective piety; The language of piety; Matrimony metaphorical; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

David George Mullan is Professor, Department of History and Fine Arts at Cape Breton University, Canada.

About the Series

St Andrews Studies in Reformation History

With the publication of its 100th book in 2012, the St Andrews Studies in Reformation Studies series celebrated an impressive publishing achievement. Since its establishment in 1995 the series has consistently offered high-quality, innovative and thought-provoking research in the field of early modern religious history. By encouraging authors to adopt a broad and inclusive interpretation of ’Reformation’, the resultant publications have done much to help shape current interdisciplinary interpretations of early-modern religion, expanding attention far beyond narrow theological concerns. Each title within the series has added to a body of international research showing how the ripples of the Reformation spread to virtually every corner of European society, both Protestant and Catholic, and often beyond. From family life, education, literature, music, art and philosophy, to political theory, international relations, economics, colonial ventures, science and military matters, there were few aspects of life that remained untouched in some way by the spirit of religious reform. As well as widening conceptions of the Reformation, the series has for the last fifteen years provided a publishing outlet for work, much of it by new and up-and-coming scholars who might otherwise have struggled to find an international platform for their work. Alongside these monographs, a complementary selection of edited volumes, critical editions of important primary sources, bibliographical studies and new translations of influential Reformation works previously unavailable to English speaking scholars, adds further depth to the topic. By offering this rich mix of approaches and topics, the St Andrews series continues to offer scholars an unparalleled platform for the publication of international scholarship in a dynamic and often controversial area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General