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Ideas of Martyrdom in Early Stuart Public Debates, 1603 - 1649

Dates:
  • Tue 12 Dec 2017 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2017-12-12 10:00 2017-12-12 12:00 Europe/Paris Ideas of Martyrdom in Early Stuart Public Debates, 1603 - 1649

The first protestant martyrology was printed at London during the spring of 1563. This vernacular work by the humanist John Foxe, entitled Acts and Monuments, was the largest account of martyrs produced by the reformation movement, being dedicated to the memory of hundreds of recently executed contemporaries. It was also an innovative ecclesiastical history, aiming to supersede many traditional frames of reference, notably by situating martyrs and other theological concepts within the context of Reformation history and doctrine. Even after the number of martyrs executed at the scaffold had diminished, educated elites, theologians, divines, and the common people still grew up surrounded by Foxe’s stories. While historians have rightly situated Acts and Monuments within the urgent debates of the martyrologist’s own time, relatively few scholars have explored the subsequent development of ideas of martyrdom in the context of the longer reformation. This doctoral thesis studies Foxe as a reformer and writer whose intellectual impact went beyond the sixteenth century. In this regard, it is important to acknowledge that his works left many traces on post-Reformation literary culture, and that the Foxeian martyrs continued to exercise a strong hold over the popular imagination during the Stuart period. This study is essentially an attempt to establish exactly how martyrs figured in historical understanding, and in what ways their example and authority determined patterns of reasoning. Focusing on a variety of literary sources written during the most famous disputes of the seventeenth century, I seek to demonstrate the crucial position that recently executed martyrs occupied within the language of historical argument. My aim is also to show that Foxe’s work provided a structure for much thinking during the early modern period, and that the examples of reformed martyrs were important in shaping public opinion throughout the Stuart dynasty. In short, this is a study of martyrs, their admirers, and the uses to which their stories were put in print. On a broader level, it is a study of ideas of martyrdom in the aftermath of the sixteenth-century British Reformations.

Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

The first protestant martyrology was printed at London during the spring of 1563. This vernacular work by the humanist John Foxe, entitled Acts and Monuments, was the largest account of martyrs produced by the reformation movement, being dedicated to the memory of hundreds of recently executed contemporaries. It was also an innovative ecclesiastical history, aiming to supersede many traditional frames of reference, notably by situating martyrs and other theological concepts within the context of Reformation history and doctrine. Even after the number of martyrs executed at the scaffold had diminished, educated elites, theologians, divines, and the common people still grew up surrounded by Foxe’s stories. While historians have rightly situated Acts and Monuments within the urgent debates of the martyrologist’s own time, relatively few scholars have explored the subsequent development of ideas of martyrdom in the context of the longer reformation. This doctoral thesis studies Foxe as a reformer and writer whose intellectual impact went beyond the sixteenth century. In this regard, it is important to acknowledge that his works left many traces on post-Reformation literary culture, and that the Foxeian martyrs continued to exercise a strong hold over the popular imagination during the Stuart period. This study is essentially an attempt to establish exactly how martyrs figured in historical understanding, and in what ways their example and authority determined patterns of reasoning. Focusing on a variety of literary sources written during the most famous disputes of the seventeenth century, I seek to demonstrate the crucial position that recently executed martyrs occupied within the language of historical argument. My aim is also to show that Foxe’s work provided a structure for much thinking during the early modern period, and that the examples of reformed martyrs were important in shaping public opinion throughout the Stuart dynasty. In short, this is a study of martyrs, their admirers, and the uses to which their stories were put in print. On a broader level, it is a study of ideas of martyrdom in the aftermath of the sixteenth-century British Reformations.


Location:
Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Supervisor:
Martin van Gelderen (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Examiner:
Prof. Peter Lake (Princeton University)
Luca Molà (EUI and University of Warwick)
Prof. Markku Peltonen (University of Helsinki)

Contact:
Monica Palao Calvo - Send a mail

Defendant:
Johannes Kristian Huhtinen (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

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Page last updated on 18 August 2017