This significant and innovative collection explores the changing piety of townspeople and villagers before, during and after the Reformation. It brings together leading and new scholars from England and the Netherlands to present new research on a subject of importance to historians of society and religion in late medieval and early modern Europe. Contributors examine the diverse evidence for transitions in piety and the processes of these changes. The volume incorporates a range of approaches including social, cultural and religious history, literary and manuscript studies, social anthropology and archaeology. This is, therefore, an interdisciplinary volume that constitutes a cultural history of changing pieties in the period c. 1400-1640. Contributors focus on a number of specific themes using a range of types of evidence and theoretical approaches. Some chapters make detailed reconstructions of specific communities, groups and individuals; some offer perceptive and useful analyses of theoretical and comparative approaches to transition and to piety; and others closely examine cultural practices, ideas and tastes. Through this range of detailed work, which brings to light previously unknown sources as well as new approaches to more familiar sources, contributors address a number of questions arising from recent published work on late medieval and early modern piety and reformation. Individually and collectively, the chapters in this volume offer an important contribution to the field of late medieval and early modern piety. They highlight, for the first time, the centrality of processes of transition in the experience and practice of religion. Offering a refreshingly new approach to the subject, this volume raises timely theoretical and methodological questions that will be of interest to a broad audience.
Robert Lutton University of Nottingham, UK. Elisabeth Salter is from the Department of English, University of Wales-Aberystwyth, UK.
’Each individual essay is well-researched, detailed, and thought-provoking: together, the connections and contrasts which are visible within a relatively defined geographical area give a much fuller picture of the variety and depth of pious practices across a time of religious upheaval.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’... detailed and thought-provoking essays... The chronological span of this volume is particularly useful, demonstrating the value of avoiding clear cut-off points between the late medieval and early modern periods.’ Ecclesiastical History