Reformed and Godly Scotland?

Jenny Wormald

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750687 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Reformed and Godly Scotland?

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On September 16, 2010, two notable religious figures came to Edinburgh. One was the Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and the other was Pope Benedict XVI. Paisley and his supporters went to the Magdalen Chapel in the Cowgate, the church where, Paisley erroneously claimed, the Scottish Reformation of 1560 began its life, presided over by John Knox. The Reverend's doughty defence of that Reformation was somewhat weakened by the fact that Edinburgh exists on two levels, and geographically it was Paisley and his sixty followers who were at a disadvantage. Paisley, heir to Knox, was the representative of the long-held belief in the peculiarly godly nature of reformed Scotland; those who cheered the Pope were the destroyers of that Scottish godly Protestantism which, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, had been the bedrock of the nation's identity and justifiable pride in itself. The belief of the unusual godliness of reformed Scotland began its life in the late sixteenth century and flowered with renewed vigour after the union of the parliaments in 1707.

Keywords: Scotland; Reformation; godliness; John Knox; Ian Paisley; Pope Benedict XVI; Protestantism

Article.  8626 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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