The Concept of Purgatory in England

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It is not the purpose of this dissertation to present a history of Purgatory; rather, it is to show through the history the influence of purgatorial doctrine on the English lay community and the need of that community for this doctrine. Having established the importance this doctrine held for so many in England, with an examination of the chantry institution in England, this study then examines how this doctrine was stripped away from the laity by political and religious reformers during the sixteenth century. Purgatorial belief was adversely affected when chantries were closed in execution of the chantry acts under ... continued below

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iii, 248 p.

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Machen, Chase E. August 2010.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 788 times , with 21 in the last month . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Machen, Chase E.

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Description

It is not the purpose of this dissertation to present a history of Purgatory; rather, it is to show through the history the influence of purgatorial doctrine on the English lay community and the need of that community for this doctrine. Having established the importance this doctrine held for so many in England, with an examination of the chantry institution in England, this study then examines how this doctrine was stripped away from the laity by political and religious reformers during the sixteenth century. Purgatorial belief was adversely affected when chantries were closed in execution of the chantry acts under Henry VIII and Edward VI. These chantries were vital to the laity and not moribund institutions. Purgatorial doctrine greatly influenced the development and concept of the medieval English community. Always seen to be tightly knit, this community had a transgenerational quality, a spiritual and congregational quality, and a quality extending beyond the grave. The Catholic Church was central to this definition of community, distributing apotropaic powers, enhancing the congregational aspects, and brokering the relationship with the dead. The elements of the Roman liturgy were essential to community cohesiveness, as were the material and ritual supports for this liturgy. The need of the community for purgatorial doctrine shaped and popularized this doctrine Next, an analysis of surviving and resurging elements of expiatory rites is explored; ritual, especially that surrounding death, as well as the relationship with the dead, were sorely missed when stripped away through political actions linked to Protestant belief. This deficiency of ritual aspects within the emerging Protestant religion became evident in further years as some of the same customs and rituals that were considered anathema by Protestants slowly crept back into the Protestant liturgy in an attempt to restore the relationship between the living and the dead. Strong evidence of this is provided through sixteenth to nineteenth century death eulogies, surviving rites of expiation, as well as lay essays and popular literature discussing the phenomenon called the Sin-Eater.

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iii, 248 p.

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  • August 2010

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  • Jan. 6, 2011, 6:55 a.m.

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  • Jan. 16, 2014, 12:11 p.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Machen, Chase E. The Concept of Purgatory in England, dissertation, August 2010; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30487/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .