Chapter three examines the role of miracles and supernatural activity in Christian origin narratives, shifting focus from time and space to the ongoing reassessment of where to locate the boundaries between the temporal and the transcendent. Because the founders of English Christianity were saints, they simultaneously act as representations of a specific historical person and as an archetypal sufferer for Christ. Exploring the inter- and intraconfessional debates over miracles, divine immanence, and martyrdom in the histories of founder-saints, this chapter argues that the supernatural authorizing function did not depend on a more or less immanent God nor on more or less fantastical miracles. Again, reframing this question from a Catholic-versus-Protestant framework reveals persecution and sacrifice to be the operative ingredient in the English Christian origin narrative. Using heroes and founding figures to imagine one’s own embattled state and bravery in the face of persecution was, and still is, a powerful rhetorical tool for the production of national identity.
The final chapter draws upon material and ritual culture to access quotidian representations of English Christian origins, examining how breviaries, calendars, landmarks, place names, saints’ lives, and shrines produced a national consciousness for people on the ground (and not just elites). Though local figures were often the dominant ones in these sources, I argue that regional pride functioned to bolster national identity (rather than compete with it) through this sacralization of the physical environment. Regional antiquarians, too, enhanced national pride through each local example of England’s sacred past. In the twenty-first century, battles rage over how public monuments (marking space) and public calendars (marking time) construct particular versions of the past and draw social boundaries that include and exclude. The active participation of the people in these narrative representations serves as an affectively powerful tool for manufacturing a golden age of England, strengthening sentiments of national sanctification and election. Indeed, these landmarks existed long before the challenges of reformers, and I argue that the debates of the sixteenth century produced narratives of martyrdom and sacrifice that only strengthened national sentiments. The founder-saints who Christianized the island also sacralized the “nation.”
Chapter two focuses on how Catholic historians framed the arrival of Christianity in terms of space in order to fabricate a national identity that had been complicated by social and geographical displacement. While some reformers framed their spatial history by constructing “Britain” as a singular territorial and cultural body in order to claim a pre-Roman Christian ancestry, I show how some Catholic historians also used the archipelagic “Britain” in order to construct a translocal nation that was thoroughly Catholic, from Dover to Durham. For those who lived a substantial part of their lives abroad like Thomas Stapleton and Robert Persons, however, Anglo-Saxon heritage was a defining element of their English Catholic identity. Rather than view territorial and ancestral claims solely along confessional lines, we can see how other factors shaped their origin narratives. Nicholas Harpsfield, using the methods of a local historian, ended up with a more archipelagic narrative that did not highlight a shared ethnic heritage in the same way that Stapleton and Persons did. Ultimately, this chapter highlights how narratives of a great, unified past have long been deployed during times that feel polarized, and how the construction of territory and ethnohistory is central to that project.
The first chapter traces the development of questions surrounding the arrival of Christianity in England in the first decades after the break with Rome. The historical arguments of Henrician evangelicals during the 1520s and 1530s were composed to support jurisdictional and political changes, but the ways they rearticulated English Christian origins prompted a rethinking of the discipline of history and probed the very relationship between historical knowledge and truth itself. The historical works of reformer John Bale signaled a clear shift in the conversation about England’s Christian origins, beginning the process of constructing a new past through “hidden” saints, as well as providing a model for later historians and theologians to negotiate the extent to which supernatural authorization could be discerned from human history. By using the biblical Revelation to view particular history in light of a cosmic scheme, Bale’s work participates in a variety of conversations about time in this period, including apocalypticism, restoration, and the imagination of distinct epochal change over time.
Traditional art music in the Ottoman Empire was essentially shaped by phenomena of transculturality. It can be assumed that dynamic cultural transfer processes took place between the cultural groups involved, including Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and Arabs, in addition to Turks, and that these processes are visible today through circumstantial evidence.
Each cultural group has an individual-specific music-theoretical, as well as music-historical background, so that the cultural intersection of Ottoman art music is considered from different perspectives. Using Greek sources from the 18th and 19th centuries as examples, this contribution is devoted to the phenomenon of cultural translation that accompanies the transfer processes. The central question is whether and in what form the detailed information given on the pitch system can contribute to a better understanding of Ottoman music theory in the nineteenth century, and how it can be made useful for the critical edition of music practical sources from the period.