Sunday, March 29, 2015


Prayers in Fields or Woods

Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800 (1983; rpt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 215:
Some of the early Protestants were adamant that prayers could be as effectively said in fields or woods as in churches. In 1429 the Lollard Robert Cavell, a clergyman of Bungay, maintained that no honour was due to images, but that trees were of greater vigour and virtue and fitter to be worshipped than stone or dead wood carved in the shape of a man.
Thomas, op. cit., p. 378, n. 16, cites Norman P. Tanner, ed., Heresy Trials in the Diocese of Norwich, 1428-31 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1977), p. 95:
Item quod nullus honor est exhibendus ymaginibus crucifixi, Beate Marie nec alicuius sancti, eo quod arbores crescentes in silvis sunt maioris viriditatis et virtutis et eo cicius adorande quam lapis vel lignum mortuum sculptum ad similitudinem hominis.
Margaret Aston, "William White's Lollard Followers," Catholic Historical Review 68.3 (July, 1982) 469-497 (at 488), compares Fasciculi Zizaniorum Magistri Johannis Wyclif cum Tritico. Ascribed to Thomas Netter of Walden, Provincial of the Carmelite Order in England, and Confessor to King Henry the Fifth, ed. Walter Waddington Shirley (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1858), pp. 429-430 (from Examinatio Willelmi Whyte coram Episcopo Norwycensi; September 13, 1428; charge no. XXVI):
Item tibi dicimus, objicimus et articulamur, quod post et contra tuam praedictam abjurationem, tu tenuisti, affirmasti, scripsisti et docuisti, quod non est honor aliquis exhibendus imaginibus Crucifixi, B. Mariae Virginis, aut alicujus sancti. Nam arbores, crescentes in silva sunt majoris virtutis, et vigoris, et expressiorem gerunt similitudinem Dei et imaginem, quam lapis vel lignum mortuum ad similitudinem hominis sculptum; et ideo hujusmodi arbores crescentes magis sunt adorandae orationibus, genuflectionibus, oblationibus, peregrinationibus et luminibus, quam aliquod idolum in ecclesia mortuum.
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