By D. Coleman
This is often the 1st book-length learn of the connection among early sleek drama and sacramental ritual and theology. It examines dramatic kinds, similar to morality performs. delivering new insights into the spiritual practices on which early glossy subjectivity is based. Coleman deals radical new methods of analyzing canonical Renaissance performs.
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Extra info for Drama and the Sacraments in Sixteenth-Century England: Indelible Characters
The victory of John the Baptist over the Pharisee and Sadducee is proclaimed to the audience – in terms similar to the Croxton play – by the onstage appearance of Christ: “I am Jesus Christ, the sonne of the lyvynge God,/The lyght of hys glorye, the ymage of hys substaunce” (338–9). e. to Protestant baptism) illustrates that the “newe lernynge” is the victor. Protestant baptism, the play suggests, is superior to Catholic baptism. But how does the play define Protestant baptism? Peter Happé suggests an answer based on Bale’s dramaturgy: “[t]he emphasis found in the [mystery] cycles upon the ritualistic and sacramental aspects of baptism as one of the seven sacraments is avoided by Bale” (John Bale 114).
There is, then, a fluctuation in the official ideology of the sacraments in the late 1530s, demonstrated by the rapid appearance of successive official proclamations on the interpretation of sacramentality. 4 This radical sacramentality, like Luther’s, is distinguishable from Catholicism primarily via its reduction of the number of sacramental rituals from seven to two (baptism and the eucharist). Bryant’s claim that Bale’s drama can be seen as “supporting official documents of the early Reformation in England” is therefore not really tenable (153); insofar as official doctrine on the sacraments is concerned, Bale’s drama challenges and confronts these documents to a much greater extent than it offers ideological support.
As a contrast to Luther’s indecision over whether penance should be granted sacramental status, the Assertio is clear that, based on scriptural authority, “it is manifest that any Priest has Power to absolve Men from Sins” (17). The conservatism of the piece is perhaps most clearly proclaimed in a passage which supports papal authority via a rhetoric of historical continuity: “if any will look upon antient Monuments, or read the Histories of former times, he may easily find that since the Conversion of the World, all Churches in the Christian World have been obedient to the See of Rome” (19).
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