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Popular Politics and the English Reformation…

Popular Politics and the English Reformation (2003)

by Ethan H. Shagan

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Ethan A. Shagan argues in this book that the English Reformation was not done to the people by the government but with them through negotiation and collaboration. His book, “is an analysis of how ordinary English subjects received, interpreted, debated and influenced the process of religious change in the first quarter century of the Reformation" (page 22). Shagan also believes that the Reformation was more political than theological.

Shagan even goes so far as to say it was not a religious reformation and he heavily relies on the Royal Supremacy Act to prove that. He also deviates from other historians by believing that the Reformation was a collaboration between the people and the government. In this respect, he is revising the revisionists idea that the Reformation was done to the people.

Shagan did extensive research for this book but did not use overly biased sources. Instead, he draws on a great deal of court records, which also strengthened his argument above other historians but there was one weakness. The historian tended to use only court records from Canterbury, Westminster and other central courts, which only showed one section of society. His argument would have been made a great deal stronger had the author used court records.

I think Shagan has one of the most plausible arguments about the Reformation and because of that, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about the Reformation and the scholarly argument that is going on about how the Reformation began (ie. from the top, from the bottom, or a little of both). ( )
  Angelic55blonde | Mar 14, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521525551, Paperback)

This study of popular responses to the English Reformation analyzes how ordinary people received, interpreted, debated, and responded to religious change. It differs from other studies by arguing that the subject cannot be understood simply by asking theological questions about people's beliefs, but must be understood by asking political questions about how they negotiated with state power. Therefore, it concerns political as well as religious history, since it asserts that, even at the popular level, political and theological processes were inseparable in the sixteenth century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:00 -0400)

"This book is a study of popular responses to the English Reformation. It takes as its subject not the conversion of English subjects to a new religion but rather their political responses to a Reformation perceived as an act of state and hence, like all early modern acts of state, negotiated between government and people."--Jacket.… (more)

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