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Religious Deviance in the Elizabethan Diocese of Durham

TENNO, SIIRI (2009) Religious Deviance in the Elizabethan Diocese of Durham. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Siiri Tenno
Religious Deviance in the Elizabethan Diocese of Durham


This study explores the subject of religious deviance in its multiple forms in the Elizabethan diocese of Durham. Based on the information from the deposition books of Durham Consistory Court, dating from 1565 until the end of Elizabeth’s reign in 1603, the acts of deviance are divided into three categories, extending from the Northern Rebellion of 1569 to the occurrence of deviance in the daily life of Elizabethan parishioners and to the manifestation of beliefs in witchcraft and magic.
The outcome of this research testifies to deviant religious beliefs and practices having coexisted alongside orthodox Protestantism whilst the line between unorthodox and orthodox beliefs was often blurred. Regarding the attitudes towards religion and the nature of the acts of deviance, the material at hand did not allow to detect any significant changes over the time in focus. The acts of religious deviance with similar nature were noted throughout the diocese which is confuting the often presented assumption of remote and rural upland areas having been more superstitious and change resistant than urban and lowland areas. Moreover, the differences between educated and popular views were not as distinct as some of the previous studies have indicated. It has found proof that the popular and learned beliefs were more interwoven in the Elizabethan diocese of Durham than previously suggested.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Theology
Keywords:religious deviance, diocese of Durham, Elizabethan diocese of Durham
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Apr 2010 10:08

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