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Title: Re-imagining the Virgin Mary in Reformation England
Author: Bates, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an interdisciplinary examination of the place of the Virgin Mary in the English reformations of the sixteenth century. Situated at the crossroads of cultural and social history, it engages with the post-revisionist debate within Reformation studies. It seeks to move post-revisionism forward by suggesting that the versatility and vitality of late medieval Mariology enabled reformers, Catholic and Protestant, to select and reject from a basket of possibilities. Consequently it contends that the fissures that had opened up by the time of the Elizabethan settlement had essentially developed along pre-existing fault lines. The first chapter explores the place of the Virgin in the late medieval context. It examines her theological significance, the way ordinary people related to her and, consequently, how they represented her in English parishes. It argues that the Virgin occupied a position which supported both affective and effective piety. The second chapter considers specific ways in which existing Mariological tropes were unsettled by the critiques of Catholic evangelicals, Renaissance humanists and Lollards. It demonstrates that the Virgin was a fluid symbol and suggests some possible trajectories that may have been followed had it not been for the rupture of the Reformation. It contends that the key focus of those advocating reform was the spiritual integrity of devotees. The third chapter investigates developing evangelical Mariology and the subsequent attempts at magisterial reform under Henry VIII and Edward VI. It explores the impact of iconoclasm on parish piety and the transformation of the Virgin into an ordinary woman. It argues for important continuities in the Protestant re-imagination of the Virgin. The final chapter looks at the policies of Mary Tudor and considers how the Virgin was re-imagined in a restored Catholic context. It contributes to the debate on the nature of Mary’s religious programme and assesses the appropriation of Mariological tropes to endorse England’s first Queen regnant. It contends that the reign’s legacy enabled the Elizabethan settlement to reject aspects of the Virgin as foreign, reshaping English identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Newberry Library
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain