First published in 1998, this book presents an overview of some recent debates on the history of religion in England from the accession of James I to the outbreak of the Civil War. Darren Oldridge rejects the polarisation of discussion on the meaning and impact of Laudianism’s innovations and the effects of the zealous Puritans. Instead, the author draws them together to emphasise how each directly influenced the other within a wider heightening of religious tension. Two of its central themes are the impact of the ecclesiastical policies of Charles I and the relationship between puritanism and popular culture. These themes are developed in eight related essays, which emphasize the connections between church policy, puritanism and popular religion. The book draws on much original research from the Midlands, as well as recent work by other scholars in the field, to set out a new synthesis which attempts to explain the emergence of religious conflict in the decades before the English Civil War.
' Darren Oldridge’s perspective on the English 1630s is a very intriguing revision of some of the more traditional, intellectual-historical views.' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 '…clear, organized…a useful introduction for scholars and students to some of the religious questions of Caroline England.' Religious Studies Review, Vol. 25, No. 3 '…interesting…remarkably broad and very readable…' Journal of Modern History, Vol. 72, No. 2 '…Oldridge reveals an interesting spectrum of religious beliefs in his communities…a valuable work.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 51, no. 1
1. Religious Conflict in Early Stuart England. 2. Theology and Reform in the Early Stuart Church. 3. The Impact of Laudianism. 4. Fighting the Devil’s Army: Preaching, Persecution and the Puritan Clergy. 5. Puritanism and Popular Culture. 6. Disordered Persons: Irreverence and Protestant Dissent in Early Stuart England. 7. Heresy, Madness and Separation: The Strange Case of Edward Greswold. 8. Christ Came to Set a Sword: Puritanism and the Outbreak of Civil War.
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