Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History Defining the Jacobean Church: The Politics of Religious Controversy, 1603-1625 Synopsis
This 2005 book proposes a model for understanding religious debates in the Churches of England and Scotland between 1603 and 1625. Setting aside 'narrow' analyses of conflict over predestination, its theme is ecclesiology - the nature of the Church, its rites and governance, and its relationship to the early Stuart political world. Drawing on a substantial number of polemical works, from sermons to books of several hundred pages, it argues that rival interpretations of scripture, pagan, and civil history and the sources central to the Christian historical tradition lay at the heart of disputes between proponents of contrasting ecclesiological visions. Some saw the Church as a blend of spiritual and political elements - a state Church - while others insisted that the life of the spirit should be free from civil authority.
Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History Defining the Jacobean Church: The Politics of Religious Controversy, 1603-1625 Press Reviews
Review of the hardback: 'The not unreasonable claim made by this book is that we should try to interpret and decipher the ecclesiological dynamics of the Jacobean Church by distancing ourselves, as far as we can, from narrow theological concerns.' The Journal of Ecclesiastical History There is enough here to fulfill Prior's promises--to remind students of religious history that more than soteriology was at stake when Calvinists and proto-Arminians or anti-Calvinists quarreled in the run-up to Montague's New Gagg and Laud's ambitions and to supply specialists with specimens, his own consideration of which enlivens our study of the period's 'practical ecclesiology.' Defining, then, is exceptionally successful at documenting how 'the debates that took place between Jacobean Protestants continued along rifts opened in the late Elizabethan Church' (262) - Peter Iver Kaufman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Prior does a fine job of describing these debates. His book is an impressive work of scholarship. It is meticulous and comprehensive in its coverage of the great amount of source material that has so far remained strangely ignored or underplayed. We now have an excellent sense of what these works contain. For that, we owe him a very great debt. His work is a substantial contribution to the broader issues under debate. - H-Net, Tim Cooper, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand By examining religious debate through the lens of ecclesiastical legitimacy, Prior is able to offer fresh insights into the political, religious, and historical issues at stake in the shaping of the Jacobean church... broadens our understanding of what the English and Scots thought about the reformed church and its relation to civil authority. By contextualizing controversialist literature in the continued effort of conformity, Prior is able to recast the debates as narratives in historical legitimacy. - Journal of British Studies Well-written and researched book,...Defining the Jacobean Church makes an important contribution to the field Catherine Corder, Canadian Journal of History