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Religious polemic, print culture and pastoral ministry: Thomas Hall B.D. (1610-1665) and the promotion of Presbyterian orthodoxy in the English Revolution

Thomas, Denise (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Presbyterianism in the seventeenth century has often been seen as an alien and unpopular Scottish import, and its ministerial proponents as strident polemicists lacking a committed pastoral approach and doomed to failure in their struggle for further godly reformation.

This thesis reappraises the development and articulation of orthodoxy and Presbyterianism through the experience of Thomas Hall, pastor and schoolmaster of Kings Norton, Worcestershire, a particularly rigid adherent of these views. It argues that Hall’s beliefs were home-grown responses to English religious and political changes in the 1630s, and explores their development and consolidation during the English Revolution. It also investigates ways he promoted his ideology through his pastoral ministry, his teaching, and his evangelical and polemical writings. Though militant against heresy, Hall’s willingness to engage with popular religious beliefs, to experiment with a variety of media and to present Calvinist ideals in a sympathetic and accessible manner, demonstrate a far more positive and flexible approach than historians have generally acknowledged.

Much of the evidence centres on Hall’s unusually large and well-annotated library, and his own publications. This enables a detailed analysis of Hall’s reading practice and activities as a book-collector which were closely integrated with his polemical and religious priorities.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Cust, Richard
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of History
Subjects:BX Christian Denominations
DA Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2831
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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