The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
This book offers a fundamental challenge to much that has been written about the pre-Reformation church. Eamon Duffy recreates 15th-century English ... Show synopsis This book offers a fundamental challenge to much that has been written about the pre-Reformation church. Eamon Duffy recreates 15th-century English laypeople's experience of religion, revealing the richness and complexity of the Catholicism by which men and women structured their experience of the world and their hopes within and beyond it. He then tells the story of the destruction of that Church - the stripping of the altars - from Henry VIII's break with the papacy until the Elizabethan settlement. Bringing together theological, liturgical, literary and iconographic analysis with historical narrative, Duffy argues that late medieval Catholicism was neither decadent nor decayed but was a strong and vigorous tradition, and that the Reformation represented a violent rupture from a popular and theologically respectable religious system.