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Providence in Early Modern England$
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Alexandra Walsham

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208877.001.0001

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Providence, Print, and the Religion of Protestants

Providence, Print, and the Religion of Protestants

(p.8) 1 Providence, Print, and the Religion of Protestants
Providence in Early Modern England

Alexandra Walsham

Oxford University Press

The chapter focuses on the fact that providentialism was a central strand in the religiosity of evangelical Protestants during the period under discussion in this book. The doctrine of providence and experimental providentialism are defined and elaborated. English Protestant divines discussed the Doctrine of Providence exhaustively, with wearisome frequency, since it was a prominent theme of 16th- and 17th-century academic theology and practical divinity. The religious aspect of providentialism and its interpretation by the clergy, Protestant ministers, and various authors, writers are highlighted. Despite oppositions and apprehensions by the clergy and Protestant ministers, sermons and ephemeral literature, cheaply priced printed texts, ballad sheets and quarto and octavo books, were being printed in the early modern period. The role played by providence in domestic decision-making, in household divinity, and in the private management of crisis and calamity, political argument, tactics, and action in the heady atmosphere of the Civil War and Cromwellian Interregnum are emphasized.

Keywords:   providentialism, doctrine of providence, experimental providentialism, Protestant ministers, religion, providence, literature

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