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.
Spring 2016 (47/1) was mailed last week and is also available online for viewing and download.
This essay analyzes a debate over the exegesis of two letters involving an allusion to Amadís de Gaula, amid the shift in Anglo-Spanish relations occurring in the winter of 1568–69. It argues that the Spanish ambassador Guerau de Spes’s Amadís allusion was more subtle and politically significant than has been recognized, and that the English censure of his text relied on the material circumstances in which it was read.
In medieval England, religious crimes were prosecuted in the ecclesiastical courts by way of inquisitorial procedure, whereas secular crimes were dealt with in the royal courts with common-law methods. This separation between the two jurisdictions was fairly well maintained until the king was recognized in 1534 as the Supreme Head of the English Church. From this time forward, there were various attempts by statutory and other means to “improve” canonical procedures by adding or combining common-law practices.
The author investigates textual sources from early modern Denmark-Norway concerning women dying in childbed. Funeral works in particular, but also church ordinances and instructions to midwives and expecting women, exhibit a set of models for explaining this type of death. Framed by these models, the dead female body expressed central Protestant perceptions of mankind and salvation. The explanations of these deaths depended on the text genre and context in which they were given. The message accordingly changed from comfort or consolation to mediating the ideal image of women.
Francesco Pucci was a Florentine heretic who was executed by the Catholic Church in 1597. Since the 1930s, he has been considered by Italian historians to be an important contributor to the development of theories of religious toleration. A close analysis of two texts written by Pucci reveals that his thought was more complex than previously supposed. In a letter to Niccolò Balbani, a Calvinist minister in Geneva, Pucci described his heterodox theology. These views led him to develop a deeply intolerant vision of concord.
The Sixteenth Century Journal has a long tradition of encouraging and supporting exploration of the pedagogical interests of its audience, and innovations and trends in teaching theory generally. On 22 October 2015 SCJ sponsored a roundtable panel at the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference annual meeting for the second year running, and this time it featured a discussion of the benefits of implementing experiential-learning activities into early modern history courses. The panel—organized by Gary G. Gibbs (Roanoke College)—consisted of Janis Gibbs (Hope College), Michael F.