Over the past decade growing numbers of students have undertaken research into the religious dimension of the recent history of the British Isles, and in doing so have expanded its agenda away from the traditional focus on the history of doctrine and ecclesiastical institutions.
In April 1616 Hugo Grotius, in his capacity as head of a delegation from the States of Holland to the Amsterdam city council, treated, or subjected, the council to what Jonathan Israel in his 'The Dutch Republic.
Callum Browns excellent book on the historical origins and contemporary significance of Up-helly-aa, Shetlands winter fire festival, has recently won The Frank Watson Prize awarded by the University of Guelph, Canada, for being the best book of its year on Scottish history and no comment here will detract in any way from that impressive achievement; superlatives come to the
A few weeks before Peter W. Williams, ed., Perspectives on American Religion and Culture, (Blackwells, Oxford 1999) arrived, I met a Chinese-American professor whose dress, accent and confidence suggested a long-established American family. In fact she was of Chinese-Vietnamese parents, brought up in Cambodia and had spent two years as a boat refugee.
As David Nash correctly observes in the opening sentence of his stimulating study of the history of blasphemy in modern Britain, 'In modern British society each successive generation complacently congratulates itself that blasphemy is a curious and even fascinating anachronism.' Yet each generation, including our own, is apt to discover that, far from
Paul Kliber Monod has written an ambitious and very welcome book, which seeks to investigate the relationship between Christianity and kingship across the whole of Christian Europe in the 'long' seventeenth century from 1589 to 1715. This is certa inly a brave enterprise, calling as it does for a working knowledge of several languages and the strikingly diverse histories of many countries.
By official decree, Brazil celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2000: the modern history of the country dating from April, 1500, when a fleet commanded by Pedro Alvares Cabral anchored at Porto Seguro on the north-east coast of Bahia.
At the heart of this majestic and complex book is a simple story, engagingly recounted by the author. On 11 February 1855, Bernadette Soubirous, a young Pyrenean shepherdess, together with her sister Toinette and a friend Jeanne Abadie, was instructed by her impoverished mother to go out and search for tinder for the stove (p.3).
Worshippers at the main dominical services of the Church of England have, with greater or lesser frequency according to usage, custom, or personal inclination from 1549, and until the revision of the prayer book in 1980, publicly and collectively asserted their belief in 'The Resurrection of the body and the life everlasting'.
Despite a certain academic heaviness, with no fewer than fifty-seven pages of notes, bibliography and index, and despite an occasionally disagreeable academic vocabulary, of which more anon, this book has a pleasantly simple knock-down argument, that Christianity in Britain enjoyed a long nineteenth century of prosperity, between 1800 and 1960, and only began to go into terminal decline in the