The emergence and evolution of professional news reporting and publishing in early 17th-century England is an important phenomenon that has received disparate attention from scholars, much of it in journals and collections of essays, so new, comprehensive work on the subject is always welcome. This book offers especially fresh insight through the author’s extensive knowledge
David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition is an impressive scholarly accomplishment that matches a dauntingly large subject matter with a vast vault of personal knowledge. At 474 pages and 13 chapters covering more than 3000 years, it is thorough without being exhaustive.
Demons or cunning priests?
‘The Pythia at Delphi, sitting with her petticoats bunched up and her arse on the Tripod, received her inspiration from below’. Denis Diderot
In his introduction, Matthew Lundin declares that it ‘would perhaps only be slightly hyperbolic to proclaim Hermann Weinsberg the Samuel Pepys of sixteenth-century Germany’ (p. 3). This proclamation does not do full justice to the scope of Lundin’s work.
The continuing importance of Ignatian spirituality and the Society of Jesus is hard to deny these days especially in the wake of the recent election of the first Jesuit as pope. It certainly helps to explain the flurry of biographies on the founder of the order in the last two decades alone.
This important work provides the first informed, well-researched and highly nuanced account of the fortunes of ‘occult’ thought and practice in England from the middle decades of the 17th century to its demise at the end of the 18th century.
The ‘great divide’ between the medieval and the early modern is nowhere more apparent than in ‘the history of the book’ – a field of study in which it has been particularly damaging to our understanding of the processes by which books and other texts were manufactured and distributed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Preaching before James I early in his reign, Anthony Maxey told the King that predestination ‘containeth the whole summe of our religion’ (p. 1). The 17th article of the Church of England’s doctrinal statement, the Thirty-Nine Articles, had been statutory since 1571, and outlined a belief in predestination.
‘This book presents an itinerary of English Catholicism in the early modern period’ (p. 3) claims the editor in the opening sentence of this volume, which originates in a symposium convened by Lowell Gallagher at UCLA in 2007, since when the field has flourished.
Post-reformation English Catholicism continues to be a flourishing and popular field of enquiry. In recent years this upsurge of interest has been paralleled by an increasing body of work on early modern ‘superstition’ and popular religion.