'Reading, family religion, and evangelical identity in late Stuart England'.

Cambers, Andrew and Wolfe, Michelle (2004) 'Reading, family religion, and evangelical identity in late Stuart England'. The Historical Journal, 47 (4). pp. 875-896. ISSN 1469-5103

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In this article we unravel family religion as a crucial strand of evangelical piety in the late seventeenth century. We show how this programme was promoted in print and manuscript by a group of evangelical clergy from both sides of the conformist divide. Using the printed and manuscript memoirs of John Rastrick, a Lincolnshire clergyman, we explore the construction of clerical sociability through the printed text. In particular, we demonstrate that its heart was the communal reading of scripture and religious literature, confirming the household as the key locus for piety in this period. Whereas historians have traditionally been eager to categorize both clergy and laity in this period as either Anglican or nonconformist, we demonstrate that such a divide was often blurred in practice, in particular as represented through family religion. By focusing on issues such as sociability, the formation of identities, and reading practices, we also reconnect the second half of the century with its early Stuart past, suggesting that its influences and refractions fed into a continuity of evangelical identity, stretching from late sixteenth-century puritanism through the Civil War and Restoration to the onset of Evangelicalism in the eighteenth century. Though they were complex, these continuities help to show that a coherent style of evangelical piety was expressed across the ecclesiastical divide throughout the long seventeenth century.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Historical Journal
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Historical Journal, 47 (4), pp 875-896 2004, © 2004 Cambridge University Press. This article was co-written with Michelle Wolfe, a graduate student from Ohio State University: Wolfe wrote sections I and II; Cambers wrote sections III, IV, and V; the introduction was jointly written; and the whole was re-drafted collaboratively. Cambers's contribution was the major outcome of a two-month Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library, California in 2003. Versions of the article were presented jointly at the University of York and by Wolfe in Washington, DC. The article is part of an ongoing project which aims a) to redraw the history of religious cultures in the later seventeenth century by problematizing the categories of 'Anglicanism' and 'nonconformity' and b) to incorporate the history of reading practices into the broader framework of the history of religious culture. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : History
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29 Feb 2008 16:34
Last Modified:
16 Sep 2023 00:28