Description: This work examines particular attributes of the purgatorial phenomena from pre-Christian history of the Indo-European world to the Early Modern Period of England. An attempt has been made to identify and concentrate attention upon examples which provide the most significant and penetrating look into this evolution. For example, a portion of this paper attempts to determine just how widespread purgatorial customs were throughout England and the various types of community that supported these beliefs pre and post Reformation. By comparing life before and after the reigns of Henry and Edward a conclusion is reached that reveals the Protestant Reformation in England stripped the laity of a fundamental instrument they needed to support their religiosity and custom. This becomes evident in further years as some of those same customs and rituals that had been considered anathema by Protestants, slowly crept back into the liturgy of the new religion. Strong evidence of this is provided, with a strong emphasis placed upon late seventeenth and early eighteenth century death eulogies, with a section of this paper being devoted to the phenomena of the Sin-Eater.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Machen, Chase E.