Private and Domestic Devotion in Early Modern Britain: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Private and Domestic Devotion in Early Modern Britain

1st Edition

By Alec Ryrie

Edited by Jessica Martin


308 pages

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Scholars increasingly recognise that understanding the history of religion means understanding worship and devotion as well as doctrines and polemics. Early modern Christianity consisted of its lived experience. This collection and its companion volume (Worship and the Parish Church in Early Modern Britain, ed. Natalie Mears and Alec Ryrie) bring together an interdisciplinary range of scholars to discuss what that lived experience comprised, and what it meant. Private and domestic devotion - how early modern men and women practised their religion when they were not in church - is a vital and largely hidden subject. Here, historical, literary and theological scholars examine piety of conformist, non-conformist and Catholic early modern Christians, in a range of private and domestic settings, in both England and Scotland. The subjects under analysis include Bible-reading, the composition of prayers, the use of the psalms, the use of physical props for prayers, the pious interpretation of dreams, and the troubling question of what counted as religious solitude. The collection as a whole broadens and deepens our understanding of the patterns of early modern devotion, and of their meanings for early modern culture as a whole.


'… the editors are to be congratulated on a collection of essays that combine to form a thorough reassessment of the relationship between private devotion and the public liturgy.' History 'In aggregate, these essays offer some intriguing insights into the subject matter.' Renaissance Quarterly 'This is an excellent and illuminating collection that not only deepens our understanding of lived religion in Protestant England and Scotland; it also showcases some of the innovative new directions and methodologies employed by those studying early-modern religious cultures.' Catholic Historical Review '… this is an invaluable collection for enhancing our knowledge of a whole range of domestic pious practices, and of ’private’ devotion more generally … with this rich and wide-ranging volume we know a lot more about domestic devotion than we did before.' English Historical Review '…their willingness to go beyond the printed sources to mine personal letters, commonplace books and other manuscript sources makes this an especially valuable study.' Anaphora

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: private and domestic devotion, Jessica Martin and Alec Ryrie; Varieties of domestic devotion in early modern English Protestantism, Ian Green; 'Hamely with God': a Scottish view on domestic devotion, Jane E.A. Dawson; 'My now solitary prayers': Eikon basiliske and changing attitudes toward religious solitude, Erica Longfellow; Sleeping, waking and dreaming in Protestant piety, Alec Ryrie; Dismantling Catholic Primers and reforming private prayer: Anne Lock, Hezekiah's Song and Psalm 50/51, Micheline White; English reformed responses to the Passion, Jessica Martin; Old Robert's Girdle: visual and material props for Protestant piety in post-Reformation England, Tara Hamling; 'Their practice bringeth little profit': clerical anxieties about lay scripture reading in early modern England, Kate Narveson; 'In my private reading of the scriptures': Protestant Bible-reading in England, circa 1580-1720, Jeremy Schildt; Sobs for sorrowful souls: versions of the Penitential Psalms for domestic devotion, Hannibal Hamlin; Singing the Psalms for fun and profit, Beth Quitslund; Intimate worship: John Austin's Devotions in the Ancient Way of Offices, Alison Shell; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Jessica Martin is priest-in-charge of the Cambridgeshire parishes of Duxford, Hinxton and Ickleton, and a former Fellow in English at Trinity College, Cambridge. Alec Ryrie is Professor of the History of Christianity at Durham University

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 / Modern / 17th Century