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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars have attempted to explain how (or whether) the theological changes of the sixteenth century affected English women and men of all classes and types. Scholars who have written on death during the Protestant reforms have identified shifts in and anxieties regarding rituals and beliefs about death and the dead in early modern England. This chapter suggests that those shifts were actually related to something deeper than a single doctrinal or political stand. Anxiety arose not merely from the uncertainty of salvation in Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, nor the waverings of Henrician laws, nor even the significant trauma of swinging back and forth from Rome to Canterbury to Rome to Canterbury throughout the Tudor dynasty. The uncertainty surrounding death in the early modern period was something much more basic than a particular soteriological doctrine or set of religious laws: it was the uncertainty of authority itself.

Keywords: death, reformations, funeral, predestination, Protestant, Catholic, Ars moriendi, wills, memorials, graves, suicide

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