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Author: Jonathan Good

What was the nature of the late medieval English Church? Was it a corrupt and decadent organization, largely resented by most laymen? Or was it strong and vital, an integral part of the social fabric? Inextricable from this question, of course, is the legitimacy of the subsequent English Reformation. Was this disruption necessary if the Church was thriving? Why reform something that did not need reforming? Lately scholarship has been dominated by the latter view: that English traditional religion, in Eamon Duffy’s phrase, was rich, vigorous, and meaningful, with its sponsoring Church inspiring loyalty, or at least not active disloyalty.

In: Journal of Early Modern History

Abstract

In Italy, the Holy Roman Empire, and France, one can discern in the last decades of the fifteenth century and the early years of the sixteenth a powerful anguish about the future, taking one of two forms: either the vision of an imminent Last Judgment, or a great rupture in time, announcing the dawn of a new Covenant. In France, one of the peculiar features of this historical process was the tension that built up around the year 1533, one thousand five hundred years after the death of Christ. This tension could explain the offensive launched individually or collectively by the men who stood behind Marguerite de Navarre-men of faith who hoped to bring the kingdom into the evangelical sphere of the Word of God, given to each and to all. Their defeat, following the inaugural address of Nicholas Cop, and the two Affairs of the Placards, left the way open for the emergence of a sharp division between, on the one hand, a "popery" proclaiming that the End of Time had come, and, on the other, a Calvinism seeking to "de-eschatologize" the human understanding of time.

In: Journal of Early Modern History