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The Reformation of the Decalogue
Religious Identity and the Ten Commandments in England, c.1485–1625


Part of Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History

  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108416603

£ 90.00

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About the Authors
  • The Reformation of the Decalogue tells two important but previously untold stories: of how the English Reformation transformed the meaning of the Ten Commandments, and of the ways in which the Ten Commandments helped to shape the English Reformation itself. Adopting a thematic structure, it contributes new insights to the history of the English Reformation, covering topics such as monarchy and law, sin and salvation, and Puritanism and popular religion. It includes, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of surviving Elizabethan and Early Stuart 'commandment boards' in parish churches, and presents a series of ten case studies on the Commandments themselves, exploring their shifting meanings and significance in the hands of Protestant reformers. Willis combines history, theology, art history and musicology, alongside literary and cultural studies, to explore this surprisingly neglected but significant topic in a work that refines our understanding of British history from the 1480s to 1625.

    • The first study to provide a comprehensive view of the entire Decalogue
    • Introduces a new genre of source material by identifying and analysing surviving examples of Elizabethan and early Stuart 'commandment boards' in parish churches
    • The book is multi-disciplinary in approach, incorporating sources and methods from art history, musicology, and literary and material culture studies, alongside history and theology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a wide-ranging and erudite study that will be of value to scholars of many disciplines working in England's long sixteenth century. Furthermore, this book will reward each new reading with further insights about the role of the Ten Commandments in early modern culture.' Janice Liedl, Renaissance and Reformation

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108416603
    • length: 404 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Civil Office of the Law:
    1. Law
    2. Order
    Part II. The Evangelical Office of the Law:
    3. Sin
    4. Salvation
    Part III. The Practical Office of the Law:
    5. The godly
    6. The 'ungodly'
    Conclusion: the Ten Commandments in England, c.1485–c.1625.

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    The Reformation of the Decalogue

    Jonathan Willis

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  • Author

    Jonathan Willis, University of Birmingham
    Jonathan Willis is a Reformation historian and Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Birmingham. He is author of Church Music and Protestantism in Post-Reformation England (2010); editor of Sin and Salvation in Reformation England (2015); and co-editor of Dying, Death, Burial and Commemoration in Reformation Europe (2015) and Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources (2016). He is also Director of the University of Birmingham's Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies.

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