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