'Dayes of Gall and Wormwood': public religious disputation in England, 1558-1626

Rodda, Joshua (2012) 'Dayes of Gall and Wormwood': public religious disputation in England, 1558-1626. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This study examines a form of religious debate that saw Catholic priests and ministers across the reformed spectrum arguing in direct opposition to one another, and drawing on long-standing academic forms and intellectual ideals in doing so. Public religious disputation is first defined and placed in its religious, cultural and intellectual context, alongside formal disputation in the universities, printed controversy, literary dialogue and other manifestations of discourse and debate. The structures, tropes and tactics of the formal, academic process – as used in public or ‘professional’ controversial debate – are then detailed, in order to give a more precise definition, and a framework for the analysis of individual events.

The chapters following this move chronologically from the accession of Elizabeth I and the 1559 Westminster conference to the aftermath of the death of James and the 1626 debate at York House. Drawing on the trends discussed in the first chapter and the procedures detailed in the second, these sections place individual disputations in their immediate context; examining the use and restriction of public religious debate by state and church authorities, the impact academic forms could have upon public, controversial disputation, the interplay between faith and human learning on display and the changing perceptions of the practice as political, religious and cultural conditions developed through the period.

The aim of this study is to assert the significance of public religious disputation, and accounts thereof, as something more than a simple ‘variety’ of religious controversy or polemic. Its formal structures and direct interactions shed light on Reformation and post-Reformation religious arguments; but its structures and ideals also demonstrate a shared, fundamental mode of discourse and competition underlying those arguments. These encounters, and the accounts they produced, are not just examples of partisan polemic – they are potentially invaluable tools for the religious and cultural historian.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Merritt, J.
Sharipova, L.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 12629
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 12:47
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2017 16:04
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12629

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