Alison Forrestal, Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform (Oxford University Press 2017)
This book offers a major re-assessment of the thought and activities of the most famous figure of the seventeenth-century French Catholic Reformation, Vincent de Paul. Confronting traditional explanations for de Paul’s prominence in the dévot reform movement that emerged in the wake of the Wars of Religion, it explores how he turned a personal vocational desire to evangelise the rural poor of France into a congregation of secular missionaries, known as the Congregation of the Mission or the Lazarists, with three inter-related strands of pastoral responsibility: the delivery of missions, the formation and training of clergy, and the promotion of confraternal charity. The structure, ethos, and works that de Paul devised for the Congregation placed it at the heart of a significant enterprise of reform that involved a broad set of associates in efforts to transform the character of devotional belief and practice within the church. This is the first study to assess de Paul’s activities against the backdrop of religious reform and Bourbon rule, and to reconstruct the combination of ideas, practices, resources, and relationships that determined his ability to pursue his ambitions. A work of forensic detail and complex narrative, Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform is the product of years of research in ecclesiastical and state archives. It offers a wholly fresh perspective on the challenges and opportunities entailed in the promotion of religious reform and renewal in seventeenth-century France.
Stephen Copson and Peter J. Morden (eds), Challenge and Change: English Baptist Life in the Eighteenth Century (2017)
The book is available through the Baptist Historical Society website: www.baptisthistory.org.uk at £25 plus p&p
Rob Sorenson, Martin Luther and the German Reformation, (Anthem Press, 2016)
A concise, critical study of Martin Luther and his impact on the modern world. The book covers Luther’s life, work as a reformer, theological development, and long-term influence. The book is extensively based on the writings of Martin Luther and draws connections between his life and teachings and the modern day world. Intended for use by students, the book assumes no initial familiarity with Luther and would be ideal for any interested person who wants to get to know Martin Luther; one of the key figures in European history. Available here.
Caroline Bynum has edited a symposium titled 'In the Humanities Classroom: A Set of Case Studies,' published in the journal Common Knowledge vol.
23.1 (Winter, 2017), pp. 57-103.
In addition to an introduction, afterword, and essay by Bynum, the forum includes articles by Mary Harvey Doyno, Dorothea von Muecke, Frederick Paxton, Ramona Naddaff, and Katharine Wallerstein. Three of the essays deal with religious topics. The symposium is an effort to stimulate support for the humanities, and the journal hopes to publish further installments. If members of the EHS are interested in participating, they are urged to be in touch with the editor of Common Knowledge, Jeffrey Perl: email@example.com.
Clive Norris, The Financing of John Wesley's Methodism c.1740-1800 (Oxford University Press, 2017)
The dominant activities of the eighteenth century Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, in terms of expenditure, were the support of itinerant preaching, and the construction and maintenance of preaching houses. These were supported by a range of both regular and occasional flows of funds, primarily from members' contributions, gifts from supporters, various forms of debt finance, and profits from the Book Room. Three other areas of action also had significant financial implications for the movement: education, welfare, and missions. The Financing of John Wesley's Methodism c.1740-1800 describes what these activities cost, and how the money required was raised and managed. Though much of the discussion is informed by financial and other quantitative data, Clive Norris examines a myriad of human struggles, and the conflict experienced by many early Wesleyan Methodists between their desire to spread the Gospel and the limitations of their personal and collective resources. He describes the struggle between what Methodists saw as the promptings of Holy Spirit and their daily confrontation with reality, not least the financial constraints which they faced.
Alison Forrestal and Seán Smith (eds), The Frontiers of Mission:
Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism (Brill 2016)
In exploring the shifting realities of missionary experience during the course of imperialist ventures and the Catholic Reformation, The Frontiers of Mission: Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism provides a fresh assessment of the challenges that the Catholic church encountered at the frontiers of mission in the early modern era. Bringing together leading international scholars, the volume tests the assumption that uniformity and co-ordination governed early modern missionary enterprise, and examines the effects of distance and de-centering on a variety of missionaries and religious orders. Its essays focus squarely on the experiences of the missionaries themselves to offer a nuanced consideration of the meaning of ‘missionary Catholicism’, and its evolving relationship with newly discovered cultures and political and ecclesiastical authorities.
Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery: The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity (OUP 2016)
Available on OUP and Oxford Scholarship online
Were slavery and social injustice leading to dire poverty in antiquity and late antiquity only regarded as normal, “natural” (Aristotle), or at best something morally “indifferent” (the Stoics), or, in the Christian milieu, a sad but inevitable consequence of the Fall, or even an expression of God’s unquestionable will? This monograph shows that there were also definitive condemnations of slavery and social injustice as iniquitous and even impious, and that these came especially from ascetics, both in Judaism and in Christianity, and occasionally also in Greco-Roman (‘pagan’) philosophy. It is argued that this depends on a link not only between asceticism and renunciation, but also between asceticism and justice, at least in ancient and late antique philosophical asceticism. A careful investigation leads readers through all of ancient philosophy (not only Aristotle and the Stoics, but also the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, the Epicureans, Sceptics, Platonists, and much more), ancient to rabbinic Judaism, Hellenistic Jewish ascetic groups such as the Essenes and the Therapeutae, all of the New Testament, with focus on Paul and Jesus, and Greek, Latin, and Syriac Patristics, from Clement and Origen to the Cappadocians, from John Chrysostom to Theodoret to Byzantine monastics, from Ambrose to Augustine, from Bardaisan to Aphrahat and Jacob of Sarugh, without neglecting the Christianized Pythagorean Sentences of Sextus. Special (but by far not exclusive) attentionis paid to Gregory Nyssen and to the interrelation between theory and practicein all of these ancient and patristic philosophers, as well as to the parallels that emerge in their arguments against slavery and against social injustice.
Phil Bradford and Alison K. McHardy (eds), Proctors for Parliament: Clergy, Community and Politics c. 1248-1539 (The
National Archives, series SC 10), volume I: c. 1248-1377 (Canterbury and York society, 2017)
Clare Stancliffe, St. Martin and his Hagiographer: History and Miracle in Sulpicius Severus (Oxford University Press).
The Life of St Martin by Sulpicius Severus was one of the formative works of Latin hagiography. Yet although written by a contemporary who knew Martin, it attracted immediate criticism. Why? This study seeks an explanation by placing Sulpicius’ works both in their intellectual context, and in the context of a church that was then undergoing radical transformation. It is thus both a study of Sulpicius, Martin, and their world, and at the same time an essay in the interpretation of hagiography.
Gareth Atkins (ed.), Making and Remaking Saints in Nineteenth-Century Britain
This book examines the place of 'saints' and sanctity in a self-consciously modern age, and argues that Protestants were as fascinated by such figures as Catholics were. Long after the mechanisms of canonisation had disappeared, people continued not only to engage with the saints of the past but continued to make their own saints in all but name. Just as strikingly, it claims that devotional practices and language were not the property of orthodox Christians alone. Making and remaking saints in the nineteenth-century Britain explores for the first time how sainthood remained significant in this period both as an enduring institution and as a metaphor that could be transposed into unexpected contexts. Each of the chapters in this volume focuses on the reception of a particular individual or group: from the Virgin Mary and the Apostle Paul to Elizabeth Fry, William Wilberforce and Therese of Lisieux. Together they will appeal to not only historians of religion, but those concerned with material culture, the cult of history, and with the reshaping of British identities in an age of faith and doubt.
Brian Heffernan, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment
Now published in paperback, Brian Heffernan's study of Catholic priests and political violence in early twentieth-century Ireland.
From England's Jerusalem to Shanghai, China: the story of one man's Mission to bring the East and West into closer union.
At the age of only twenty, Walter Medhurst set sail in August 1816 from London, aboard the General Graham, bound for Malacca to establish a printing facility for the London Missionary Society. Thereby began a career as missionary, adventurer, printer, writer, translator, teacher and nineteenth-century pioneer to China.
Encapsulated within this life is the whole history of the nineteenth-century integration of the West and the Orient – from a new, shared religious belief to common trade and enterprise. This is a true story of love, adventure, dedication and tragedy, set during a time of great turmoil, and one that changed the course of history.
Geordan Hammond and David Ceri Jones (eds.), George Whitefield: Life, Context, and Legacy
This book has just been published by Oxford University Press. A collection of essays on the life, career, and reception of the eighteenth-century evangelical, it is available with a 30% discount for those ordering online, using the promotion code AAFLYG6.
Geordan Hammond, John Wesley in America: Restoring Primitive Christianity
This monograph has also been released in paperback by Oxford University Press and is also available with discount using the promotion code AAFLYG6.
Helen Gittos and S. Hamilton (eds), Understanding Medieval Liturgy: Essays in Interpretation
This book provides an introduction to current work and new directions in the study of medieval liturgy. It focuses primarily on so-called occasional rituals such as burial, church consecration, exorcism and excommunication rather than on the Mass and Office. Recent research on such rites challenges many established ideas, especially about the extent to which they differed from place to place and over time, and how the surviving evidence should be interpreted. These essays are designed to offer guidance about current thinking, especially for those who are new to the subject, want to know more about it, or wish to conduct research on liturgical topics. Bringing together scholars working in different disciplines (history, literature, architectural
history, musicology and theology), time periods (from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries) and intellectual traditions, this collection demonstrates the great potential that liturgical evidence offers for understanding many aspects of the Middle Ages. It includes essays that discuss the practicalities of researching liturgical rituals; show through case studies the problems caused by over-reliance on modern editions; explore the range of sources for particular ceremonies and the sort of questions which can be asked of them; and go beyond the rites themselves to investigate how liturgy was practised and understood in the medieval period.
'A Very Agreeable Society': The Ecclesiastical History Society, 1961-2011
Stella Fletcher's 126-page history of the EHS is still available, now reduced in price, and a 'must read' for all those interested both in the development of the discipline during the last half-century and in the personalities behind it. For details and an order form, click here. You may pay for this title online using PayPal; just click here. Please ensure that you indicate on the order form that you are using this method of payment.