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Title: Food and religion in the English and Italian Reformations, c.1560-c.1640
Author: Barnett, Eleanor
ISNI:       0000 0004 9348 1033
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores the relationship between food and religion in the European Reformations, through the comparative case studies of Protestant England and Catholic Italy, c. 1560 - c. 1640. It seeks to answer two broad interrelated questions: how did Protestants and Catholics understand food and eating in relation to their faith; and how did Protestants and Catholics differ in terms of what, how, and where they ate in practice. As such an essential feature of everyday life, a focus on food makes a significant contribution to the most recent concerns of historians of the Reformations, who are increasingly interested in lay lived religion rather than seeking top-down narratives to explain religious change. Through consumption food literally becomes a part of the self. Accordingly, the thesis uniquely employs both theological and physiological texts to reveal how food related to key ontological questions regarding the interaction between matter, the body, sensation, and the spiritual realm. The thesis also adds to the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of food studies, which has unequivocally shown that what people eat and how they eat it are principal in the creation and expression of group identities. The thesis argues that food - both in terms of ideas and practice - was a central and so-far overlooked feature of Protestant and Catholic identities in early modern Europe, which helped to draw the confessional divisions of the Reformations. It is based on a range of material in print and in manuscript form from across England and Italy. Sources can broadly be divided into those relating to the enforcement of religious reform (sermons, theological tracts, and church visitation records); those prescribing food practices (recipe books, medicinal literature, and guidebooks); and those evidencing actual consumption (account books from households, guilds, and churches, and Inquisition records); whilst material culture spans all three sections.
Supervisor: Muldrew, Craig ; Rublack, Ulinka Sponsor: AHRC ; Levy-Plumb
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Reformation ; Food ; Early modern ; Religion ; Eating ; Material culture ; Protestantism ; Catholicism ; Protestant Reformation ; Catholic Reformation ; Comparative study ; Lent ; Fasting ; Lived religion ; Embodiment ; Faith ; Feasting ; England ; Italy ; English Reformation ; Italian Reformation ; Counter Reformation ; Everyday life ; Cultural ; Reformations ; Church ; Worship ; Inquisition ; Reformation of manners ; Communion ; Eucharist ; Household ; Witchcraft ; Judaism ; Commensality ; Piety ; Asceticism ; Cuisine