This essay considers four woodcut images included in the Praeclara Ferdinadi Cortesii in order to position the Nuremberg codex as an announcement to Europe of the Spanish monarchy’s evangelical ideology regarding the New World. The images enabled the codex to herald the transformation of New Spain from idolatry to Christianity under the control and direction of the Spanish Habsburg king and with the blessing and sanction of the pope.
The resurrection of the dead has been among the articles that defined Christian belief since the earliest days of the church. However, scholars have not considered its place in sixteenth-century debates about what it meant to be a Christian. Notably, the doctrine of bodily resurrection was a subject on which Christians in the Reformation remained remarkably united. Yet despite their basic agreement, sixteenth-century writers paid extensive attention to resurrection, and in so doing, they articulated very different understandings of why it mattered.
The removal of a patient’s limb was the most radical procedure performed by early modern surgeons. It occurred only when a part of the body was considered lost to the “cold fire” (der kalte Brand)—a final, irreversible putrefaction. The harrowing experience held life-altering consequences for patients and their families. By drawing on surgical treatises, correspondences, field manuals, and examination books, this article uncovers a process of negotiation that took place during diagnosis and prognosis in cases of the cold fire.
The account of a visit to India in 1583 by the Elizabethan leather seller, Ralph Fitch, is justly famous for the view it contains of India in the sixteenth century. Yet, the account has not been seen for the traces it has of Indians talking to Fitch in India, in the repeated intrusions of the phrase “They say.” This essay argues that snippets of street level Indian back talk make for a kind of Indiaspeak; these phrases are valuable for the reverse view they offer of the first English probing of India that led to the English colonization of the subcontinent over the next two centuries.
Izaak Walton first published his popular work The Compleat Angler in 1653. Charles I, the king of England, had been executed just four years earlier after almost a decade of civil war, and the king’s opponents had also abolished the Church of England. Long hailed as a primary inspiration for the modern conservation movement, most scholarship on the Angler has either ignored or muted the political context of Walton’s most famous book. However, the Angler is permeated with religious and political polemic.
As bishops sought to introduce the decrees of the Council of Trent, they encountered mixed reactions and degrees of helpfulness from localities. In Navarre, parishes embraced certain aspects of reform, while rejecting others. As they utilized the expanded Tridentine-era diocesan courts, local communities effectively pushed for a vision of reform on their own terms.
This article explores cultural, social, political, and theatrical manipulations of the halter (or noose) in the early modern period. It begins with a consideration of what an investigation of the halter might hope to achieve, via E. P. Thompson’s analysis of the object’s symbolism in later wife sales. It then explores the ambivalent symbolic properties of the halter in mid-sixteenth-century social conflict, before broadening the discussion to consider how the halter entered into diverse literatures of the time.
Traditional studies of the role of the body in the spiritual practices of Counter-Reformation Italy have focused primarily on methods of degrading the body, such as fasting and self-flagellation, which early modern practitioners believed would bring the soul nearer to the divine.
This article explores several texts from what Arnold Hunt dubs “art-of-hearing literature,” works that informed early modern readers how to listen to sermons. Written by clergy, these texts stress that listeners can be spiritually transformed by listening properly to a sermon and thus opening their souls to grace. This article argues, however, that these works not only suggest that lay listeners affect the preacher but also depict construction of a sermon’s meaning as a cooperative endeavor where laypeople wield significant power.