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The upheavals in belief that took place in the later middle ages and the Reformation cannot be grasped without understanding the relationship between the doctrine of the church and the actual beliefs of the people. This collection illustrates the workings of this tension, particularly through the rise and repression of Lollardy. It is exemplified in the ambivalence of Wycliffe himself, a member of the academic establishment yet the founder of a popular movement.
The learning of the Renaissance, above all advances in the textual study of the Bible, and the spread of books after the invention of printing, made an irreversible impact on religion, breaching as they did the ecclesiastical monopoly on learning. The scriptural studies of Erasmus and other northern humanists, in their probing of ecclesiastical assumptions, found echoes among ordinary men and women across Europe.
Fidelity to Scripture led to violent outbursts of popular activity against traditional objects of veneration. Margaret Aston shows how the drama of the Reformation was played out most spectacularly in public rites of fire, whether the burning of people, books or images.
Buy Faith and Fire: Popular and Unpopular Religion 1350-1600 by Margaret Aston from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781852850739 & 1852850736
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