The Richard L. Greaves Prize 2016 – won by Alec Ryrie

CoverThe Richard L. Greaves Prize was established in 2004 in honour of the memory of the first president of the International John Bunyan Society and is awarded every three years for an outstanding book-length work of scholarship devoted to the history, literature, thought, practices and legacy of Anglophone Protestantism to 1700. Many congratulations to Alec Ryrie, who won the 2016 prize for his monograph Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Publisher’s note: ‘Beginning from the surprisingly urgent, multifaceted emotions of Protestantism, Ryrie explores practices of prayer, of family and public worship, and of reading and writing, tracking them through the life course from childhood through conversion and vocation to the deathbed. He examines what Protestant piety drew from its Catholic predecessors and contemporaries, and grounds that piety in material realities such as posture, food and tears. This perspective shows us what it meant to be Protestant in the British Reformations: a meeting of intensity (a religion which sought authentic feeling above all, and which dreaded hypocrisy and hard-heartedness) with dynamism (a progressive religion, relentlessly pursuing sanctification and dreading idleness). That combination, for good or ill, gave the Protestant experience its particular quality of restless, creative zeal.’

Conference – ‘The Rethinking of Religious Belief’

The 2017 conference of the International Society for Intellectual History (ISIH) will take place at the American University in Bulgaria, 30 May – 1 June 2017. The conference is titled ‘The Rethinking of Religious Belief in the Making of Modernity’. Keynote speakers include Wayne Hudson, Michael Hunter, Jonathan Israel, and Lyndal Roper. Proposals for 20-minute individual papers are welcome. Proposals for panels, consisting of three 20-minute papers, are also welcome. Paper and panel proposals are welcome both from ISIH members and scholars who are not members of the Society. The language of the conference is English: all speakers are supposed to deliver their papers in English. Papers and panels may concentrate on any period, region, tradition or discipline relevant to the conference theme. For further details on how to apply through the onine submission form, please visit the conference page on the ISIH website.

QMUL CRLE Seminar – Veronica O’Mara – ‘Saints’ Lives for East Anglian Nuns: From C15 to C18′

All are welcome to this third seminar of the Centre for Religion and Literature in English at Queen Mary University of London:

Time: Wednesday 6 July 2016, 5.15-6.45pm
Place: Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Westfield Way, Queen Mary University of London, E1 4NS

Dr Veronica O’Mara (Hull), ‘Saints’ Lives for East Anglian Nuns: From the Medieval Period to the Eighteenth Century’

This paper will focus on a collection of twenty-two Middle English saints’ lives from the end of the fifteenth century that are currently being edited by Virginia Blanton (University of Missouri-Kansas City) and Veronica O’Mara (University of Hull). These lives, all but two of which concern women, are a complex mixture of native English and international saints whose sources may be partly identified. They survive in a single manuscript that was owned in the eighteenth century by a recusant family in Norfolk, a family that sent its daughters to be professed on the continent in the post-Dissolution period. This unique collection, which may be associated with a range of East Anglian convents and was at one time owned by a member of the royal family, provides links between medieval Catholic England and eighteenth-century England, between Norfolk and the capital, between Europe and England.

International John Bunyan Society Conference – 6-9 July 2016

CFP posterThis is a reminder that the Eighth Triennual Conference of the International John Bunyan Society, ‘Voicing Dissent in the Long Reformation’, is taking place 6-9 July 2016 at Aix-Marseille University and La Baume Conference Centre. Further details of the conference are available on the International John Bunyan Society website, where copies of the programme may also be found.

The InvenCaP ‘Inventory’ has now been published!

Dissenting Experience is pleased to announce its latest publication, An Inventory of Puritan and Dissenting Records, 1640-1714 (2016), compiled by Mark Burden, Michael Davies, Anne Dunan-Page and Joel Halcomb. The Inventory contains full bibliographical details of over 350 church books, account books, and register books belonging to Baptist, Congregational or Presbyterian churches during the later Stuart period. It also includes an ‘Introduction’, which examines important questions relating to the nomenclature and history of Puritan congregations. The Inventory is available to view via the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English website: http://www.qmulreligionandliterature.co.uk/online-publications/dissenting-records/. For further information about the scope of the project, please browse the ‘About InvenCaP‘ pages on the Dissenting Experience website.

The History of Independence

The Independence Project brings the history of independent freedom to the public by sharing insights from an international team of experts, featuring the earliest debates on the topic in the English-speaking world, and providing access to additional content and events. The project, which is directed by Polly Ha, is funded by the AHRC and is based at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with The Jefferson Foundation and the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Further information is available on the project website, which includes blog posts and an online exhibition.

New England Beginnings – Francis J. Bremer

‘New England Beginnings’ is a partnership to encourage and promote activities that commemorate the cultures that shaped early New England.  The activities focused on are designed to 1) tell the stories of the region in the seventeenth century to a wide, general public audience and 2) enhance accessibility of resources for future scholarship in the field. The partnership is coordinated by Francis J. Bremer Professor Emeritus of History, Millersville University. A full list of partners and related events is available on the ‘New England Beginnings’ blog.

InvenCaP Blog – The Church Records of White’s Alley, London – (2) – Disciplinary Cases and the Interpretation of Non-Attendance Figures

By Mark Burden

In recent times, historians have quite correctly expressed reservations about the wide–spread assumption that a family’s non–attendance at a parish church might indicate their support for dissent. However, little attention has been paid to the opposite premise: that increasing levels of non–attendance at a dissenting church might indicate a falling–off of support for that church. It is certainly the case that non–attendance figures, whether relating to the Church of England or a dissenting congregation, should not always be interpreted in relation to national political events. In the absence of traceable links between those events and the figures themselves, and in response to the danger of making a category error by comparing numbers and events, it might seem safer to desist from attributing any such connections. Yet for many scholars, perhaps particularly those with a background in literary studies, it is equally counter-intuitive to deny any link between church attendance and political ideas, given the obvious point that people’s actions are affected by their beliefs. For scholars adopting this alternative set of assumptions, it would hardly be surprising if church books, which were conceived primarily as practical documents, did not attribute declining attendance to political events and ideas; yet to rule out any such connections is to overlook a number of important factors. Firstly, to be a dissenter in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century was, by definition, to be at the centre of a number of political arguments and events, and to be very much aware of the fact. While not impossible, it would have been extremely difficult to be a covenanted member of a Congregational or Baptist church and not to have recognised that to do so was to participate in an organisation in competition with the state church. Furthermore, for researchers who think of politics not only in terms of legislature and executive but in terms of people (polis as well as polity), there are further reasons for viewing church attendance figures as political: informed by the debates which sometimes simmered and sometimes raged about them, a dissenter’s decision to stop attending chapel – whatever the trigger might be – was in and of itself a political act.

In this blog, I would like to explore the issue of non–attendance by analysing the disciplinary cases brought by the White’s Alley General Baptist Church in London against its members, 1681-1714. A brief history of the church and its ministers is provided in my previous blog. The reason for using this church to comment upon church attendance and discipline is primarily pragmatic: the church books contain an almost unparalleled level of detail relating to proceedings against recalcitrant members for the period under question. They also enable us to distinguish between the number of cases opened against church members, and the number of times they were cited in the minutes. By ‘case’ I mean the complete set of proceedings against a member for a particular misdemeanour or group of connected misdemeanours. By ‘citation’ I mean an entry in the church book recording either the misdemeanour, the church’s action, or some combination of the two. Thus it is possible to be cited many times for the same misdemeanour, and all of the citations collectively constitute one case. It will therefore be noted that the term ‘citation’ is used rather differently in this blog than in most accounts of seventeenth-century dissent, where it refers to the accused being summoned to appear in front of the quarter sessions, manorial, or church courts. In its conventional usage, then, the term implies that the accused was considered by officialdom to be too much of a dissenter; in this blog, the term carries the implication that the White’s Alley church considered the accused to be too little of a dissenter, in that they were insufficiently Godly. The following analysis consists of two elements: a discussion of reasons for the fluctuations in the number of disciplinary citations, and an account of the disciplinary cases brought against women.

Continue reading InvenCaP Blog – The Church Records of White’s Alley, London – (2) – Disciplinary Cases and the Interpretation of Non-Attendance Figures

InvenCaP Blog – The Church Records of White’s Alley, London – (3) – Appendix: Table of Disciplinary Cases

Please click on the link below to view a pdf table summarising the contents of approximately 900 disciplinary citations at White’s Alley Baptist Church, 1681-1714:

White’s Alley – Disciplinary Cases – Appendix

The table has been compiled by Mark Burden and is designed to accompany the two previous blog posts on ‘Principles and Practices’ and ‘The Interpretation of Non-Attendance Figures’.

Citation: This pdf is not to be reproduced in any form. If the information contained in the pdf is used for research purposes, it should be cited in the following manner: Mark Burden, ‘The Church Books of White’s Alley – (3) – Appendix: Table of Disciplinary Cases’ (2016), https://dissent.hypotheses.org/1923.

Albrecht Burkardt (dir.) – L’Economie des Dévotions

Ce livre cherche à élucider les rapports qu’entretiennent, à l’époque moderne, les activités économiques et les pratiques dévotionnelles. Il s’agit de deux sphères volontiers séparées, avec en arrière-plan, des a priori d’incompatibilité, voire des aversions traditionnelles qui n’ont pas épargné l’historiographie. Et pourtant il est évident que, dans les sociétés d’Ancien Régime, le champ des pratiques de piété a constitué un facteur économique d’importance majeure.

  • L’économie des lieux de dévotions
  • Dévotions et commerce :conjonctures et logiques distributives
  • Dévotion et commerce :coexistence, conflits, accommodements
  • Réseaux commerciaux et dévotions des acteurs de l’échange
  • Zaytoun, août2007