‘The performance of piety’: exploring godly culture and identity in England c.1580-1640

Wright, Katie (2008). ‘The performance of piety’: exploring godly culture and identity in England c.1580-1640. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The godly Protestants of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England were seen by many in their society as Puritans, mere actors of Christianity, hypocritically performing their religion. This thesis asks to what extent the godly did in fact ‘perform’ their religion. The idea of performance is used to explore godly culture and identity in England in the period c.1580-1640. It is argued that the godly looked for signs of assurance of their faith, and performed to God, to themselves and to each other to receive reassurance.

This study is based on two different urban communities, Banbury and Nottingham. The records of these towns are used comparatively to explore broader questions about the nature of godly culture and the creation of godly/ Puritan identity on different levels, incorporating the individual, the communal, the family, the private, the public, the domestic and the urban. Chapters focus on themes such as baptism name choice, preparations for death, non-conformity in church and iconoclasm to show how godly performance could be dramatic and distinctive within the communities in which they lived. They discuss how and why godly culture developed and changed in Banbury and Nottingham over the course of this period, considering the relative importance of the roles played by the clergy, local magistrates and wider personal and social networks.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: Department of Modern History
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12839


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