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Rynetta Davis’s “National Housekeeping: (Re)dressing the Politics of Whiteness in Nineteenth-Century African American Literary History” considers how nineteenth-century Black women writers contested and revised representations of traditional Black domesticity. Moving outside of the home and beyond traditional forms of domestic work, Elizabeth Keckley, Julia Collins, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper suggest that Black domestic work exceeds the home space. Davis thus examines a range of domestic print practices and sensibilities in ways that highlight gender, gendered spaces and work, and print possibilities surrounding such. In this, her chapter considers just what “domestic” citizenship might look like.
The Introduction lays out the book’s main argument about the uses to which accounts of the Bible’s origins were put in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It sketches the historical context for this phenomenon, discussing how the period was characterized by heightened attention on the Bible’s ultimate divine origin, transcendent of all historical contexts, and at the same time by a new focus on the human and historical mediations shaping Scripture’s extant forms. The Introduction proceeds to a critical analysis of how modern scholars have understood these modes of biblical reception according to theories of secularization and modernity, with some arguing that the early modern Bible’s transcendence, and some its immanence, played important roles in the development of secularity, disenchantment, and modernity. Through engaging this scholarship, the Introduction develops arguments that challenge contemporary thinking about secularity. Following a discussion of the scholarly field of political theology and the present book’s relationship to it, the Introduction ends with an overview of the book's chapters.
In this book, Travis DeCook explores the theological and political innovations found in early modern accounts of the Bible's origins. In the charged climate produced by the Reformation and humanist historicism, writers grappled with the tension between the Bible's divine and human aspects, and they produced innovative narratives regarding the agencies and processes through which the Bible came into existence and was transmitted. DeCook investigates how these accounts of Scripture's production were taken up beyond the expected boundaries of biblical study, and were redeployed as the theological basis for wide-reaching arguments about the proper ordering of human life. DeCook provides a new, critical perspective on ideas regarding secularity, secularization, and modernity, challenging the dominant narratives regarding the Bible's role in these processes. He shows how these engagements with the Bible's origins prompt a rethinking of formulations of secularity and secularization in our own time.
Chapter 2 charts how the Reformation’s spread, coupled with its vulnerability in many territories, created new religious alliances such as the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic League of Nuremberg. Both leagues experienced internal conflicts over their operation that burst into the open in 1542 when the Schmalkaldic League’s chiefs attacked one of the League of Nuremberg’s leaders, Duke Heinrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Through the comparative analysis of multiple contemporaneous leagues, this chapter shows how the Reformation and its interaction with the imperial political system depended on the politics of alliance but also remade how such politics operated.
While many alliances existed in the Empire during the late Middle Ages, the Swabian League became the model par excellence for subsequent leagues. It achieved this standing by offering something unique to all members. It allowed small territories to secure political and military backing from their more powerful neighbors while enabling larger territories to institutionalize spheres of influence. This chapter investigates these dynamics by analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of leagues as tools for military action. The Swabian League fielded one of the most effective fighting forces the Empire had ever seen. Its 1499, 1504, 1519, 1523, and 1525 campaigns established it as a force in imperial politics. They also pushed its members and other Estates to develop in ways that produced later alliances. Ultimately, the League’s operation promoted a vision of the Empire based on collaboration between its territories and the imperial crown that broke down during the early Reformation. Despite its collapse in the early 1530s, the ideal of the Swabian League lived on as the standard to which later alliances aspired. Instead of being rendered redundant, the League’s legacy helped ensure that the politics of alliance remained an essential political strategy long after the League itself disappeared.
During the Reformation and the Age of Exploration, just war thinkers were forced to reexamine the premises on which the Augustinian tradition had stood, including their understanding of natural law, justice, and sovereignty. This chapter examines three thinkers crucial to that transition: Alberico Gentili, Francisco Suarez, and Hugo Grotius. They are part of the Augustinian tradition, but clearly show signs of subtle departure from their predecessors. Grotius, especially, is a hybrid between the Augustinian past and Westphalian future. They understood themselves to be engaged in a project of continuity: they wanted to salvage and reinterpret the intellectual inheritance of Christendom and reapply it to the changing and fracturing landscape of their day. But the new age inaugurated by the treaties of Westphalia transformed it in subtle but important ways, most prominently by secularizing its discourse and changing its understanding of natural law.
In early modern Scotland, religious and constitutional tensions created by Protestant reform and regal union stimulated the expression and regulation of opinion at large. Karin Bowie explores the rising prominence and changing dynamics of Scottish opinion politics in this tumultuous period. Assessing protestations, petitions, oaths, and oral and written modes of public communication, she addresses major debates on the fitness of the Habermasian model of the public sphere. This study provides a historicised understanding of early modern public opinion, investigating how the crown and its opponents sought to shape opinion at large; the forms and language in which collective opinions were represented; and the difference this made to political outcomes. Focusing on modes of persuasive communication, it reveals the reworking of traditional vehicles into powerful tools for public resistance, allowing contemporaries to recognise collective opinion outside authorised assemblies and encouraging state efforts to control seemingly dangerous opinions.
This article presents and evaluates the legal thought of Muhammad ʿAllāl al-Fāsī (1910–1974) with a focus on his discourse on the objectives of Sharīʿa and the motives behind his reformulation of these objectives within the broader context of his political agenda. Al-Fāsī's concerns were not purely academic. As a political leader who struggled for the independence of his country and as a decision maker within the newly established Moroccan state, his theorization of Islamic law departed from traditional and modern efforts to negotiate the supposed status of Sharīʿa within the institutional structures of postcolonial Muslim states. The questions engaged in this article are to what extent did al-Fāsī's contribution to Maqāṣid go beyond its classical reformulations as represented by the Andalusian Māliki jurist Ibrāhīm Ibn Mūsā Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (d. AH 790/1388 CE) in his seminal work, Al-Muwāfaqāt fī Uṣūl al-Sharīʿa, and whether al-Fāsī's work represents a turn in the field of Maqāṣid when compared with that of other modern Muslim jurists, among them Muhammad al-Ṭāhir Ibn ʿĀshūr (1886–1970). This article focuses on al-Fāsī's book on Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa, Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa al-Islāmiyya wa Makārimuhā, and its contribution to the ongoing efforts to accommodate Islamic law within the corpus of modern secular laws.
This chapter considers the relationship between change and continuity in the English Reformations through a close study of historical writing. It situates Protestant historical writing during the Tudor Reformations in its polemical context: the need to defend Protestantism from charges of novelty and heresy, and explain away the apparent glory of the Catholic Church over the previous 1,500 years, which were captured in the phrase, ‘Where was your Church before Luther?’ It shows that in answering that question, Protestant writers used traditional practices and modes of historical writing – apocalypticism, providence and prophesy – and employed traditional media (ballads and prophetic images) alongside the new technology of print. It argues that this apparent continuity with the medieval past was vital to Protestant experience and expression of the Reformations as a jolt to historical consciousness. Because they were teleological, these types of historical writing defined the Reformation as a seismic and defining change in history: the last days which would see the culmination of human history and the purification of the Church. Articulating the importance of the presence necessitated the past being remembered and redefined. In this way, memory was crucial to the process of Reformation.
The first part of the introduction explores how historians and literary scholars have approached early modern memory and sketches the trajectory of recent work on the memory of the English and European Reformations. It then examines the ways in which the religious revolution transformed the memorial culture it inherited from the medieval past and the manner in which it engendered new strategies of remembering and forgetting, commemoration and amnesia. The second section explains the architecture and structure of the volume, which is divided into four parts (1) Events and Temporalities; (2) Objects and Places (3) Lives and Afterlives; (4) Bodies and Rituals. It probes the temporal; spatial and material; biographical; and ceremonial and corporeal dimensions of the memory of the English Reformation, establishing a series of conceptual frameworks for the essays that follow. The Reformation is reconceptualised less as a unitary moment of rupture than as ongoing struggle to reconfigure the nation’s ecclesiastical and cultural heritage and to accommodate the unruly legacy of the past. A prolonged development involving impulses towards both historical preservation and oblivion, it continues to be refought in memory and the imagination.
This chapter explores the reception of the visible legacy of sixteenth-century image-breaking in the years surrounding the English Civil War. For all its violence, the iconoclasm of the early Reformation never succeeded in banishing all superstitious images from English churches and cathedrals. In many places of worship, reminders of the old religion survived into the seventeenth century in the form of defaced carvings, headless statuettes, damaged picture windows and partially razed memorial brasses. Rightly or wrongly, seventeenth-century observers came to associate Reformation iconoclasm with a strategy of instructive defacement, intended to preserve visible examples of Catholic superstition marked with the imprint of reforming zeal. The Laudian reornamentation of English churches in the 1620s and 1630s led many puritans to conclude that the strategy of defacement had been a failure, and to call for a new wave of more thorough-going iconoclasm. Yet others, including John Milton, continued to embrace selective defacement as a model for coping with both literary and material idols.
With empirical touchstones from Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the authors argue that heritage and property represent different approaches to subject formation, produce distinct bodies of expertise, and belong to different rationalities of government in a global patrimonial field: that cultural property is a technology of sovereignty, part of the order of the modern liberal state, but cultural heritage a technology of reformation that cultivates responsible subjects and entangles them in networks of expertise and management. While particular case trajectories may shift back and forth from rights-based claims and resolutions under the sign of cultural property to ethical claims and solutions under the sign of cultural heritage, the authors contend that there is significant analytical purchase to be gained from their distinction. Using a critical, comparative approach, they make the case for a historically grounded and theoretically informed understanding of the difference between the two terms.
The dramatic religious revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries involved a battle over social memory. On one side, the Reformation repudiated key aspects of medieval commemorative culture; on the other, traditional religion claimed that Protestantism was a religion without memory. This volume shows how religious memory was sometimes attacked and extinguished, while at other times rehabilitated in a modified guise. It investigates how new modes of memorialisation were embodied in texts, material objects, images, physical buildings, rituals, and bodily gestures. Attentive to the roles played by denial, amnesia, and fabrication, it also considers the retrospective processes by which the English Reformation became identified as an historic event. Examining dissident as well as official versions of this story, this richly illustrated, interdisciplinary collection traces how memory of the religious revolution evolved in the two centuries following the Henrician schism, and how the Reformation embedded itself in the early modern cultural imagination.
This chapter explores the theatre’s interest in the intersection of religion and emotion by focusing on two characters from Shakespeare’s history plays—Falstaff and Joan la Pucelle—who reference the real-life martyrs Jeanne d’Arc and John Oldcastle. Martyrdom was a cultural phenomenon with the potential for considerable dramatic impact on the stage, but the act of transforming it into theatrical representations had to be handled with exceptional care. Accordingly, the history plays walk a kind of tightrope, evoking Jeanne and Oldcastle through patterns of strategic indirection, including substituting minor characters for more controversial ones and killing characters off stage rather than on. Such techniques create crucial layers of distance that protect the audience from staring too closely at events already overloaded with meaning. Feelings of sympathy transmitted to the audience were thus carefully detached from real-life martyrs, interrupting and redirecting the cycle of religiously-charged emotional identification.
Focusing on the examples of astrology, astronomy, and cometography, this essay investigates the historical intellectual connections between the so-called scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, religious reformism, and metaphysics. It argues that it was the strong voluntarism, in particular the strong belief in the sovereignty of divine providence, that Calvinism inherited from late medieval metaphysical nominalism that led to the rise of modern empiricism, the breakdown of Ptolemaic cosmology, and the ancient science of astrology, thus preparing the way for a new heliocentric and mechanistic understanding of the universe.
This chapter explores how taste’s epistemological utility in the early modern period was compromised by its disreputable moral status: taste was often identified as the cause of Adam and Eve’s fall. Nonetheless, sacramental tasting held out the promise of redemption. Eucharistic practices, I propose, provide a crucial context for the Protestant poetics of authors including George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and Amelia Lanyer. Frequently, for instance, the language of taste is used – with varying levels of commitment – to affirm the superiority of experiential faith over clerical and scriptural authority. Simultaneously, religious writing, from poetry to polemic, offers a neglected source to uncover popular understandings and experiences of everyday, physical tasting. In particular, even banal, quotidian experiences of eating were conceived of as opportunities for spiritual illumination, precisely – and paradoxically – because of the fallenness of taste.
To understand what puritans were doing in New England, we have to begin elsewhere, for the place of New England is itself not a beginning but a consequence – an effect of causes long in process before there ever were colonists at Plymouth, Salem, or Boston. Puritanism originated many decades before as a movement for reform of worship and the church in Scotland and England, a movement committed to a certain understanding of redemption – the passage from sin to salvation in the Christian life – that had wide-ranging social, political, and theological ramifications. This chapter maps the basic features of that movement and carries the dynamics forward into the “puritan revolution” of c. 1640–1660, including the theological currents that swirled beyond 1660. Tracking how Calvinist ideas circulated from the Continent to England and Scotland and what impact those ideas had on society, this chapter spells out the origins of puritanism and describes the battles and transatlantic dynamics that shaped American puritan literature.
Chapter Three studies ‘the word’ by merging two fields of association: first, the agglomeration of human labours, social practices, cultural values, and codified grammatical systems that made possible and supported the acquisition of Latin; second, the inhuman order of the ‘verbum Dei’. Each of these fields of association has, as its ultimate aim, the transformation of individual lives. It is under the rubric of this shared objective that I bring them together here. The first half of the chapter explores aspects of the medieval Latin grammatical tradition and its early modern afterlives. My goal is to make some seventh-century wranglings on the subject of the Latin case system serve as a point of entry into later fashions of prose style, and into the pedagogical disciplines of systematic imitation that were developed to teach Ciceronian Latin to schoolboys. The second half of the chapter explores a range of texts associated with St Paul, St Augustine, and Martin Luther in order to characterize the linguistic and spiritual stakes of medieval and early modern Britain’s absorption into Rome.
Chapter Two studies how Rome figures in shifting conceptions of the problem of the self. The chapter’s emphasis is on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers and texts, ranging from Edmund Spenser and John Donne to Sir Thomas Wilson and John Milton. English perspectives on Rome, however, were mediated to a significant extent by continental writers such as Petrarch, Joachim Du Bellay, and Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Writers trained within (and in Petrarch’s case, actively forging) the traditions of humanist inquiry celebrated their commitment to returning ad fontes. In practice, however, their engagements with a ‘text’ as complex and ramified as Rome risked leaving them endlessly navigating tributary brooks, creeks, streams, and rivers rather than reposing comfortably at the source. The chapter brings together scenes of schooling, staring, and travel in order to study tensions between understandings of the self as being an immured condition of metaphysical finitude, on the one hand, and as being formed via the absorption of capabilities that arrive from the outside, on the other.
This chapter asks where and how Rome (and, by extension, polemics self-consciously characterized as reactions against Rome) figures in efforts to determine what the living owe to the dead, and what the dead can do for the living. Latin occupies a controlling position within this inquiry; so, too, do texts that cast the world of the living as the home of the dead; so, finally, do Reformation-era debates about the soteriological stakes of praying for the dead. These topics span a period of time in which Rome is the gravitational centre of a sequence of massive upheavals in vernacular piety and attendant debates about the relationship between the living and the dead. The chapter argues that interpreting these debates as facets of the fact of Rome alerts us to the role that the human voice plays in probing the limits of mortality and the nature of the human as such.