The James Ford Lectures : Youth and Age

The James Ford Lectures in British History, 2018

Lecture One: Youth and Age

This lecture investigates the role played by people at different stages in the life cycle in the making of England’s long Reformation. It tests suggestions that the successive phases of religious upheaval precipitated by the ecclesiastical upheavals of the 1530s, 40s and 50s entailed forms of youthful rebellion and analyses the reversals of the age hierarchy to which these revolutionary events appeared to give rise. It examines age as a stage of spiritual growth as well as a biological phase and explores the role of education and conversion in the Reformation. It also considers some of the paradoxes of youth and age in a society that distrusted novelty and revered antiquity and engages critically with the idea that the authority of the old was steadily eroded in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.


The Reformation of the Generations: Age, Ancestry, and Memory in England c. 1500-1700

This series of lectures seeks to inject fresh energy into debates about England’s plural and protracted Reformations by adopting the concept of generation as its analytical framework. Its aim is to investigate how the tumultuous religious developments of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries not merely transformed the generations that experienced it, but also reconfigured the nexus between memory, history, and time. The lectures examine how age and ancestry were implicated in the theological and cultural upheavals of the era and explore how the Reformation shaped the horizontal relationships that early modern people formed with their siblings, kin, and peers, as well as the vertical ones that tied them to their dead ancestors and their future heirs. They highlight the important part that the family has played in shaping our knowledge of the Reformation past and in the making of its archive. They contend that religious revolution had both biological and social dimensions.