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The Secularization of Early Modern England:…

The Secularization of Early Modern England: From Religious Culture to…

by C. John Sommerville

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195074270, Hardcover)

This study overcomes the ambiguity and daunting scale of the subject of secularization by using the insights of anthropology and sociology, and by examining an earlier period than usually considered. Concentrating not only on a decline of religious belief, which is the last aspect of secularization, this study shows that a transformation of England's cultural grammar had to precede that loosening of belief, and that this was largely accomplished between 1500 and 1700. Only when definitions of space and time changed and language and technology were transformed (as well as art and play) could a secular world-view be sustained. As aspects of daily life became divorced from religious values and controls, religious culture was supplanted by religious faith, a reasoned, rather than an unquestioned, belief in the supernatural. Sommerville shows that this process was more political and theological than economic or social.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

In this provocative work, Sommerville examines the onset of secularization in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, exploring how and why various aspects of life - art, language, work, play, technology, and power - became divorced from religious values. The work helps modern readers understand what life was like in an age in which religion suffused society and was as basic to thought as the structure of language. Sommerville argues that secularization began earlier in England than many historians believe - even before Henry VIII's seizure of power over the church in the 1530s - and that it advanced in concert with the Protestant Reformation. As more aspects of daily life were divorced from religious values and controls, religious culture was supplanted by religious faith, a reasoned (rather than an unquestioned) belief in the supernatural.… (more)

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