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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483590
Andrew Spicer is Professor of Early Modern European History and came to Oxford Brookes from the University of Exeter in 2003. Until 2010, he was responsible for leading the AHRC project 'The Early Modern Parish Church and the Religious Landscape'. He is currently a Literary Director of the Royal Historical Society.
This module considers the implications of the Reformation on the arts and in particular the material culture of worship. What effect did an emphasis on preaching have on the appearance and furnishings of places of worship? How did Protestant attitudes to religious imagery vary and what were the consequences of these different theological standpoints? Why was music permitted in some churches and not others? The result of questions like these is to get a better understanding of how the material culture of worship was (or was not) shaped by the theological ideas of the Reformation.
Material Culture of the Reformation
What was the impact of the Reformation on the material culture and fabric of early modern religion? Reflecting on the architecture and appearance of places of worship, this research has considered how far places of worship and their furnishings were shaped by the liturgical and theological considerations or by external factors. While the focus has been primarily on churches, this research has also ranged more broadly in this field. In recent years papers have also been given on subjects as diverse as 17th century French funerary monuments, late medieval and post Reformation Scottish funeral palls or mortcloths, Reformed Church communion silver in the Dutch Republic, and Huguenot religious art.
Sanctity and the Sacred
This research considers how attitudes towards the sanctity and holiness of places of worship and other sacred sites changed in the wake of the Reformation. Besides sacred space in general it examines rituals of consecration and the emergence of new Protestant rites.
The dislocation and migration caused by the religious conflicts in Europe after the Reformation and the processes of integration and assimilation. This focuses on the communities that were established in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and how these migrants interacted with their host communities.
Another aspect of this research has been to consider how these communities were regarded during the 19th century by historians and the general public.
This article considers the institutional response to the Iconoclastic Fury and the iconoclasm of the early 1580s in the southern provinces of the Netherlands. Although the restoration of Catholicism is more often associated with the early seventeenth century, this article demonstrates that the reconstruction of churches and reestablishment of worship took place a generation earlier in the immediate aftermath of the religious violence. Furthermore this restoration was a priority for the government in the Netherlands, in particular for Margaret of Parma and her son Alexander Farnese, as they sought to regain control of the region and assert the authority of the crown. In particular, they encouraged the use of the ecclesiastical rites of consecration and reconciliation to symbolize the cleansing and purification of the religious landscape after the profane actions of the iconoclasts and adherents of the Reformed faith.