Helen L. Parish presents an innovative new study of Reformation attitudes to medieval Christianity, revealing the process by which the medieval past was rewritten by Reformation propagandists. This fascinating account sheds light on how the myths and legends of the middle ages were reconstructed, reinterpreted, and formed into a historical base for the Protestant church in the sixteenth century.
Despite the iconoclastic impulse that underpinned the Reformation in England, this bold new work demonstrates that traditional images of saints, popes, miracles and wonders were not expunged from the religious lexicon, but rather appropriated, reformed, and deployed in the service of religious change. Crossing the often artificial boundary between medieval and modern history, Parish draws upon a valuable selection of writings on the lives of the saints from both periods, and addresses ongoing debates over the relationship between religion and the supernatural in early modern Europe. Setting key case studies in a broad conceptual framework, Monks, Miracles and Magic is essential reading for all those with an interest in the construction of the Protestant church, and its medieval past.