English Reformation & Coughing

Tonight’s class discussion revolved around two specific articles, one about the English Reformation and the other about a failed Smithsonian exhibit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both punctuated by a good amount of coughing by Dear Professor.

The article on the English Reformation was written by some guy named Haigh and was very interesting. He pointed out different views historians have taken in viewing the motivation and pace of the Reformation. One view is that the motive of change came from above; those in authority and the elite. Another view is that the motive of change came from below; those people who lived in the villages and towns. Historians vary in the pace of change, some saying with the change from above moving at a fast pace and some saying the change from below was fast paced as well.

What I found most interesting was that historical research that was done revealed that those who lived in rural areas had a much slower pace of change from Catholicism to Protestantism largely because the clergy were involved in people’s lives, people were happy and satisfied with what was being done in the church, and that news didn’t travel very quickly, so the “news” of the change didn’t come speedily. However, those people who resided in the urban areas, closer to London, etc., change came more quickly.

I had always thought that the change was rapid all over and that the people, by and large, were dissatisfied with the clergy and the church, specifically. But as I thought about it, read the article, and participated in discussion tonight, it makes sense that the further away you are from the hub and activity of a town during an era when news travelled orally (and slowly) change would have been slow. And as I said in class, Catholicism was not only a religion and the people’s faith, it was a life cycle. Like with Orthodoxy, people lived the seasons of feasts and fasts. If that is all they knew and what they felt secure and safe in, change would have been very slow.

I enjoyed reading that article. I may have to re-read it! It was an interesting class in all. Though I felt badly for Dear Professor. He has a nasty cough, the kind where every time you take a breath to speak, you cough. Deep and yucky. Ugh! I hate those kind. I do hope he doesn’t get worse. This winter season has been terrible with bad sickness going around: pneumonia, bronchitis, all kinds of yuck.

Lord have mercy on Dear Professor.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mimi
    Jan 31, 2006 @ 18:39:12

    You know, I’m fascinated with English history (particuarly Tudor history) and what you are saying makes sense. If you think about it, some of the “reforming” ideas were around with Henry V and some argue he was influenced by reading the bible in his own language (which of course isn’t an Orthodox issue). I also think that a lot of the country folk were the ones who did resist the early reformation and would have backed Mary. If the article is online, would you send me a link?

    Prayers for your Professor.

  2. Meg
    Jan 31, 2006 @ 15:31:54

    If Dear Professor has what I have, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. >:-< What you are learning about the English Reformation reminds me very much of the two Russian “Revolutions,” the one in 1917 and the one in 1991. In both instances, the countryside was much, much slower to accept change. Change is usually driven by intellectuals who have nothing better to do — in Henry VIII’s case, at least part of it was wanting a male heir, which he wasn’t likely to get out of Catherine of Aragon, who had trouble both conceiving and keeping a baby. The popular “acceptance” of his “reformation” was almost certainly due to the horrific penalty for treason — hey, I’d think twice before consenting to be drawn and quartered.

  3. Ian
    Jan 31, 2006 @ 06:01:27

    Lord, have mercy indeed.

    Sounds very interesting. Reading The Stripping of the Altars I’m realising things you were taught: I thought it was changed in an instant. The truth is much more complex, and very interesting.

    If I may ask, why had the Smithsonian exhibit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki failed?

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