Erasmus or Calvin? The Politics of Book Purchase in the Early Modern English Parish

John Craig

in The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264683
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734878 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Erasmus or Calvin? The Politics of Book Purchase in the Early Modern English Parish

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter notes that the purchase of books alone misrepresents the readership and reception of continental reform in English parishes. For instance, it argues that the demands of the laity for work by Genevan reformers should be viewed alongside the concerns of parish administration as well as other purchases, such as occasional prayers. It is now evident that English Reformation was not simply an act of state as maintained by traditional accounts. New narratives focus attention on how lay reception shaped the nature of reformation, instead of quantifying reform through numbers in favour of or in resistance to the movement. Negotiation was a common practice for lay men and women, whether through the selective support of reform to suit individual interests, through the agitation for more zealous reform, or through the redefinition of orthodoxy in puritan communities.

Keywords: Genevan reformers; parish administration; English Reformation; lay reception; puritan communities

Chapter.  11208 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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