Paths to Reform: Things new and old

116 pages, paperback, 275 x 210 mm, 46 full-page colour illus.
PRICE: £25.00
ISBN: 978 0 9838546 5 4


Sandra Hindman, Laura Light

Introduction by David Lyle Jeffre


Paths to Reform traces the fascinating and turbulent history of reform in the Medieval and Early Modern Church from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries as seen through forty contemporary manuscripts and a number of printed books. Brought together, these manuscripts – their physical format, their text and illustrations – offer a new historical perspective as well as vivid testimony to the ways in which communities of the faithful practiced their beliefs.

The journey begins with texts associated with the religious orders of the Middle Ages that sought change and renewal – Bernard of Clairvaux and the Cistercians, St Francis of Assisi, St Bridget of Sweden and St Francis de Paula. The core of the book explores in greater detail texts (especially those in the vernacular) associated with the Devotio Moderna and parallel movements in France and Italy. The physical differences of the manuscripts as well as some striking textual similarities emerge. The same themes, classically expressed in texts such the Imitation of Christ and Henry of Suso’s Clock of Wisdom, are found in manuscripts copied across Europe. French noble women, for example, studied in French and in lavish copies the same texts found in much simpler copies in Dutch read by humble Brothers or Sisters of the Common life in the Low Countries.

The last part of the book examines manuscripts associated with the Protestant Reformation, including a New Testament, a Psalter, an illuminated Lutheran prayer book and a Catholic Book of Hours with inappropriate passages crossed out so that it could still be used in Protestant England. There is also a fascinating collection of hymns in the vernacular meant to be sung in unison during private meetings among reformed churchgoers.

Paths to Reform is the third in the series ‘Textmanuscripts’ published by Les Enluminures, following Binding and the Archeology of the Medieval and Renaissance Book and Before the King James Bible.

Sandra Hindman is a leading expert on Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illumination, Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University and owner of Les Enluminures, with galleries in Paris, New York and Chicago.

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