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Jewish Sabbath and Christian Sunday in Early Modern England

  • David S. Katz
Part of the Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 138)

Abstract

A Frenchman, writing home in 1659, confessed that he had failed to understand why the English Calvinists believed themselves to be following a form of that religious doctrine laid down in Geneva. “The religion of England,” he remarked, “is preaching and sitting still on Sundays.”1 This observation points to one of the most distinguishing features of English religious life, the English Sunday, devoted to religious edification and complete abstinence from ordinary weekday activity. The strict English attitude towards the Sabbath was and always has been radically different from that which prevailed even in Protestant areas on the Continent. Indeed, it has been argued that Sabbatarianism is perhaps the only important English contribution to the development of Protestant theology in the first century of its history.2 Strict Sabbatarianism was also one of the permanent effects of the Puritan rule in seventeenth-century England. Even after the Restoration of the king in 1660, when the two decades of the Cromwellian period were regarded as a time of temporary national insanity, the almost Judaic observance of the Sunday rest continued to be a deeply rooted part of English life and culture. Most importantly, the general question of Sabbath observance itself reflects the way in which the biblical text and Jewish religious observance were understood in post-Reformation England.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Biblical Text Religious Edification Protestant Theology Constitutional Document 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    M.M. Knappen, Tudor Puritanism (2nd edn, Chicago, 1970), p. 442.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    H. Gee and W.J. Hardy, Documents Illustrative of English Church History (London, 1896), p. 477Google Scholar
  3. 3a.
    E.C.S. Gibson, The Thirty-Nine Articles (London, 1898).Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    M.M. Knappen, Tudor Puritanism (2nd edn, Chicago, 1970), pp. 443-4Google Scholar
  5. 10a.
    S. Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday (Rome, 1977), pp. 16-55.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    C. Hill, Society and Purirtanism (2nd edition, New York, 1967) p. 210.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    R. Cox, The Whole Doctrine of Calvin about the Sabbath (Edinburgh, 1860), p. 91.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More’ s Dialogue, ed. H. Walter (Parker Socl, xxxviii, 1850), pp. 97-8.Google Scholar
  9. 18.
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  10. 18a.
    W.U. Solberg, Redeem the Time (Cambridge, USA, 1977), pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  11. 18b.
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  12. 19.
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  14. 34.
    See D.S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England, 1603-1655 (Oxford, 1982), chap. 1.Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    P. Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath (London, 1636), pp. 259-60. On Brabourne, see Katz, Philo-Semitism, pp. 34-8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • David S. Katz

There are no affiliations available

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