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The idea of converting Scandinavia to Christianity had been enthusiastically pursued by the Emperor Louis the Pious and Archbishop Ebbo of Rheims in the 820s. Optimism such as theirs was, however, not to last, and little progress was made between the death of Archbishop Rimbert of Hamburg-Bremen in 888 and the conversion of Harald Bluetooth a century later. This article examines how Rimbert wrote a saint's Life about Anskar, his predecessor and ‘apostle of the north’, in an attempt to arrest the waning support for the mission. It considers how this was achieved by placing the text in the context of the clashes between Ebbo and his successor, Hincmar, the predestination debate and the idea that mission was fulfilling apocalyptic prophecies.
The basic details of the portrayal by the sources of the episcopate of John Chrysostom have long been accepted in the literature. So also the perspective from which his episcopate is viewed, which is both Constantinopolitan and partisan. By examining what happened from another angle, namely from Antioch, it can be seen that the standard portrayal needs to be treated with caution. At the same time, an Antiochene perspective offers new insight into the sequence of events as they unfolded.
This paper argues that the earliest church at Beodericisworth, the later Bury St Edmunds, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Probably in the reign of Athelstan, the (supposed) body of St Edmund, king and martyr, was translated into this church. The cult of St Edmund burgeoned and before the end of the eleventh century St Edmund's shrine had become one of England's foremost pilgrim centres and attracted the wealth which helped pay for the great Romanesque church built to house it. Nevertheless, a wide variety of sources, both written and visual, demonstrate that the cult of St Mary retained much vitality, becoming the pre-eminent secondary cult in Bury St Edmunds, one especially fostered by Abbot Anselm (1121–48). Finally, similar examples are cited of other churches where dedications to saints like St Mary, who enjoyed widespread veneration, were replaced by those of saints of more local fame but whose (supposed) bodies those churches possessed.
It is often claimed that the story of the Abitinian martyrs provides evidence relevant to the outbreak of the Donatist schism. However, this interpretation of the text rests upon a number of false assumptions regarding its manuscript tradition and the celebrity of the martyrs it commemorates. Rather than being written in the early fourth century, the text in its extant form was probably written after the Council of Carthage in 411, and perhaps in response to it. It thus does not cast light upon the outbreak of the schism, but rather on the way in which the events of the early fourth century were polemically reinterpreted at a much later date.
Anglican exegesis in the later seventeenth century of Revelation's prophecies demonstrates that apocalyptic ideas continued to hold currency in England after the mid-century period with which they are most often associated, promoting the very civil and ecclesiastical authorities they had previously been used to oppose. Present in the writings of prominent Restoration scholars and churchmen like Henry More, Gryffith Williams and Gilbert Burnet, as well as lesser-known authors, Anglican apocalyptic interpretation dispels the traditionally-held opinion that such convictions lost their power and validity with the decline of radical fortunes, and confirms that apocalyptic thought was not simply a language of disaffection on the political and religious margins of society.
The Reformation simultaneously transformed the identity and role of bishops in the Church of England, and the function of monuments to the dead. This article considers the extent to which tombs of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century bishops represented a set of episcopal ideals distinct from those conveyed by the monuments of earlier bishops on the one hand and contemporary laity and clergy on the other. It argues that in death bishops were increasingly undifferentiated from other groups such as the gentry in the dress, posture, location and inscriptions of their monuments. As a result of the inherent tension between tradition and reform which surrounded both bishops and tombs, episcopal monuments were unsuccessful as a means of enhancing the status or preserving the memory and teachings of their subjects in the wake of the Reformation.
Offering a new interpretation of the sermon ‘De ordinatione beati Gregorii anglorum apostoli’, a text preserved in Eadmer's ‘personal manuscript’ (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 371), this article argues that the cult of St Gregory the Great was promoted by Archbishop Lanfranc (1070–89) and Archbishop Anselm (1093–1109) in order to undermine the pretensions to apostolic rank of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. It draws attention to the existence of a hitherto unrecognised but major conflict over apostolic authority that took place in England after the Norman Conquest; a conflict that involved the king as well as Canterbury's most important churchmen. In so doing, this essay contributes, more generally, to our understanding of the roles that the cult of saints and its rhetorical structures played in battles over status and rank order.
Hans Denck is commonly cited as a universalist. Probably he was not, but there are several reasons why it was easy for his opponents to claim the opposite: his theology admitted the possibility that all people will be saved; his broadly Origenistic conceptions of freedom, divinisation and punishment tempted opponents to attribute Origen's idea of universalism to him; and he so challenged the core beliefs of mainstream Reformation theology that his opponents may have found it difficult to understand how he could claim that God wills all to be saved, Christ died for all and all are free, without being universalist.
The Capuchin friar, Valerian Magni, was one of the most influential churchmen of the first half of the seventeenth century. A confidant of Pope Urban VIII, an advisor to the emperor Ferdinand II and an intimate of the Polish king Władysław IV, Magni worked tirelessly as a religious mediator for nearly fifty years. This article investigates his ecumenical activity in two major arenas, Bohemia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the Czech kingdom Magni collaborated with young Archbishop Harrach to counter the Jesuits' harsher policies of reCatholicisation while in Poland he endeavoured to reunite both Protestant and Orthodox communities with the Catholic Church.
The theological reticence of the Moderates in the eighteenth-century Scottish Kirk sits oddly with their contribution to other spheres of literature, notably historical writing. A faultline runs through the historiography of Moderatism, dividing those historians who believe the Moderates remained committed Calvinists from those who endorse the view of contemporary critics within the Kirk that the Moderates favoured Arminianism, or worse. An appreciation of the Moderate preference for history over theology may go some way towards resolving this conundrum. Moderate accounts of religious history ran in parallel with the historical sociology of stadial progress which emerged in the Scottish Enlightenment. Moderate historians recognised that human interpretation of the divine also followed a developmental pattern. Thus, although the Moderates continued to uphold subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith, their writings indicate that an historical sensitivity to theological change replaced what they perceived to be an inevitably time-bound commitment to dogma.
This article rejects the approach that treats the Gunpowder Plot as a discrete historical episode. The plot is better understood when examined in parallel with the period after November 1605; the surprising leniency shown by the Jacobean government towards English Catholics destroys the motives upon which conspiracy theories are based. This article demonstrates that Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, supported King James's toleration since both wished to preserve domestic stability and peace with Spain. The assassination of King Henri IV of France in 1610 did more to jeopardise toleration than did the Gunpowder Plot, despite the latter's profound impact on the English popular consciousness.
In her influential article, ‘The two John Knoxes: England, Scotland and the 1558 tracts’, Jane Dawson proposes a new understanding of John Knox's (1558) doctrine of resistance. Knox, she contends, argues for political insurrection in England but only clerical reform in Scotland on the basis of a theological distinction: England is a covenanted nation, while Scotland is not. Yet a close reading of Knox's Appellation seems to suggest that he considers both England and Scotland to be covenanted nations at this time. As such the difference in Knox's advice regarding rebellion seems best explained by his distinction between various categories of covenant obligation, as well as among different political spheres and pragmatic conditions in which these obligations obtain.
In 1859, following the evangelical revival in Ulster, a Female Mission was founded in Belfast as an evangelistic agency and philanthropic enterprise. It was one of many voluntary societies. Upper-class evangelical women employed the services of lower-class women of similar religious energy to work among the poor of the city. This article explores the surviving documentation of the mission to assess its work, and, more important, to ascertain if involvement in this limited public sphere was a catalyst in the broader liberation of evangelical women. The issues go beyond the relationship of inner faith and public expression in popular religion to the notion that evangelicalism, as a heightened form of Christian belief and action, was a trajectory as well as a boundary in nineteenth-century society.
This article recreates the everyday experiences of rural Catholics in Mexico during the Church–State crisis of the 1920s and the cristero revolt (1926–9) against Mexico's post-revolutionary regime. Focusing on the archdiocese of Michoacán in western Mexico, the article contends that the 1920s should be viewed not only as a period of political tension between Church and State, but as a period of attempted cultural revolution when the very beliefs of Mexican Catholics were under attack. It is then argued that the behaviour of many Catholics during the cristero revolt is best described not as overt counter-revolutionism, but as defensive cultural and spiritual resistance designed to thwart the state's secularising aims by reaffirming and reproducing proscribed Catholic rituals and practices in collaboration with the parish clergy. The article then examines Catholic strategies of resistance during the cristero revolt and their consequences, above all the parochialisation and laicisation of the Church.
In autumn 1944, the British Ministry of Information sent one of its officials, the Revd Herbert M. Waddams, to Sweden and Finland. His task was to collect information about opinions in church circles in both countries and to try to persuade them to a more favourable attitude towards the Allies, especially the Soviet Union. Sweden had remained neutral throughout the war and Finland had just made peace with the Allies. Waddams's memoranda on the trip reveal how the assessment of the international situation by a representative of a British government ministry differed from that of churchmen in Sweden and Finland.
The revisionism which has marked the secularisation debate in recent decades has modified in various respects the traditional view that Christianity in Britain has been in almost constant decline for at least the last century or so. As a contribution to the debate, this article revisits the changes which developed in the internal dynamics of English and Welsh Nonconformity during the period from about 1850 to 1930. It argues that the secularisation of Nonconformity at the institutional level was primarily due to the fact that it became more associational and less communal in character. Indeed, Nonconformist Churches almost certainly contained the seeds of secularisation from their inception, as they were the first widespread voluntary associations in Britain with the concept of formal membership.
Outrageous women, outrageous god. Women in the first two generations of Christianity. By Ross Saunders. Pp. x+182. Alexandria, NSW: E. J. Dwyer, 1996. $10 (paper). 0 85574 278 X
Montanism. Gender, authority and the new prophecy. By Christine Trevett. Pp. xiv+299. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. £37.50. 0 521 41182 3
God's Englishwomen. Seventeenth-century radical sectarian writing and feminist criticism. By Hilary Hinds. Pp. vii+264. Manchester–New York: Manchester University Press, 1996. £35 (cloth), £14.99 (paper). 0 7190 4886 9; 0 7190 4887 7
Women and religion in medieval and Renaissance Italy. Edited by Daniel Bornstein and Roberto Rusconi, translated by Margery J. Schneider. (Women in Culture and Society.) Pp. x+334 incl. 11 figs. Chicago–London: The University of Chicago Press, 1996. (first publ. as Mistiche e devote nell'Italia tardomedievale, Liguori Editore, 1992). £39.95 ($50) (cloth), £13.50 ($16.95) (paper). 0 226 06637 1; 0 226 06639 8
The virgin and the bride. Idealized womanhood in late antiquity. By Kate Cooper. Pp. xii+180. Cambridge, Mass.–London: Harvard University Press, 1996. £24.95. 0 674 93949 2
St Augustine on marriage and sexuality. Edited by Elizabeth A. Clark. (Selections from the Fathers of the Church, 1.) Pp. xi+112. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996. £23.95 (cloth), £11.50 (paper). 0 8132 0866 1; 0 8132 0867 X
Gender, sex and subordination in England, 1500–1800. By Anthony Fletcher. Pp. xxii+442+40 plates. New Haven–London: Yale University Press, 1995. £25. 0 300 06531 0
Empress and handmaid. On nature and gender in the cult of the Virgin Mary. By Sarah Jane Boss. Pp. x+253+9 plates. London–New York: Cassell, 2000. £45 (cloth), £19.99 (paper). 0 304 33926 1; 0 304 70781 3
‘You have stept out of your place’. A history of women and religion in America. By Susan Hill Lindley. Pp. xi+500. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996. $35. 0 664 22081 9
The position of women within Christianity might well be described as paradoxical. The range of practices in the early Church with regard to women, leadership and ministry indicates that this was the case from the beginning, and the legacy of conflicting biblical texts about the role of women – Galatians. iii. 28 versus 1 Corinthians xi. 3 and Ephesians v. 22–3 for example – has, perhaps, made that paradoxical position inevitable ever since. It might be argued, then, that the history of Christianity illustrates the working out of that paradox, as women have sought to rediscover or remain true to what they have seen as a strand of radically egalitarian origins for Christianity which has been subsumed by the dominant patriarchal structure and ideology of the Church. The tension of this paradox has been played out when women have struggled to act upon that thread of egalitarianism and yet remain within Churches that have been (and, it could be argued, remain) ‘patriarchally’ structured.
The Clergy of the Church of England Database, a project funded by the AHRB, began work in 1999 with the aim of constructing a relational database covering all clerical careers in the Church of England between 1540 and 1835. This article outlines the methodology and scope of the project before discussing some of the intellectual problems posed by the task of constructing a database that reflects the complexities of an irrational, pre-bureaucratic organisation. It also offers an insight into the potential of the completed database as a tool for investigating the largest profession of the early modern period.
Robert Barnes is a name well known to historians of the English Reformation. He receives brief mention in most historical surveys, being variously discussed as Coverdale's prior, Luther's friend, Cromwell's protégé, or Henry VIII's martyr. Among scholars whose interests lie primarily with the theology of the Reformation, Barnes has at times received further, more focused attention, his written works being examined in some detail and he himself being painted as a rare English Lutheran. Those interested in the politics of the Henrician Reformation have also found reason to assign Barnes a place of some importance, giving particular attention to his later role as royal ambassador to the princes and theologians of the German Protestant League of Schmalkalden. In contrast to these portraits of Barnes as a theologian and diplomat, and in spite of the fact that Barnes regularly mounted the pulpit while in England, there has been no comparable emphasis on Robert Barnes the preacher. The reason for this lacuna is quite simply that, despite the amount of contemporary commentary on his preaching, none of Barnes's actual sermons has been preserved. This is a fact all the more lamentable since, as those friends and foes who did comment upon his preaching make clear, he was known by contemporaries to be an extraordinarily zealous and effective preacher.
John Wesley. The evangelical revival and the rise of Methodism in England. By John Munsey Turner. Pp. x+214. Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2002. £14.95 (paper). 0 7162 0556 4
Wesley and the Wesleyans. Religion in eighteenth-century Britain. By John Kent. Pp. vi+229. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. £37.50 (cloth), £13.95 (paper). 0 521 45532 4; 0 521 45555 3
A brand plucked from the burning. The life of John Wesley. By Roy Hattersley. Pp. vii+451+18 plates. London: Little, Brown, 2002. £20. 0 316 86020 4
Mirror of the soul. The diary of an early Methodist preacher, John Bennet, 1714–1754. Edited and introduced by S. R. Valentine. Pp. xii+243 incl. 2 frontispieces. Peterborough: Methodist Publishing House, 2002. £15 (paper). 1 85852 216 1
The tercentenary of John Wesley's birth saw the appearance of a whole crop of studies on various aspects of the Wesleys and early Methodism. Whether the current conversations between Methodists and Anglicans concerning the Covenanting Proposals is providing an additional spur remains to be seen. However, there can be no doubt that there is continued interest in the Wesleys and the way that Methodism developed, particularly in the eighteenth century, as the following four studies show in their very different ways.